The new guidelines released by the Georgia Department of Education, which require all fifth-graders to complete a career portfolio, sparked the idea for the new model. Keely Daniel, a counselor at EES, organized the event and began two months ago preparing the students.
First, Daniel administered an 80-question interest inventory to help the students learn about themselves and to see their aptitudes. Next, she asked the students to identify three careers they found interesting and to do some research on each. Finally, they narrowed the field to one career.
“They have completed a research paper on their chosen field, but we also wanted them to prepare a presentation. We thought it was important for them to have an audience, that is why the other grades are rotating through. The kids seem to be learning a lot and it helps build their self-esteem to know the younger kids are interested in what they are doing,” Daniel said.
The students were grouped with others who had chosen fields in similar areas and set up their presentations at tables throughout the gym. First- through fourth-grade students viewed the presentations during their special area time.
The strengths of the children were evident through their presentations. Sarah Holman spoke skillfully and with confidence on being a chef. Brooke Evans created a professional-looking PowerPoint presentation on her MacBook Air, which was provided to all fourth- and fifth-graders in Bartow County through a grant. Monterya Morrow explained the effect of genes on physical characteristics.
“I have known since first grade that I want to be a geneticist. I even wrote a letter to Oxford University in England asking to be accepted to study genetics,” Morrow said. Oxford University replied to Morrow’s letter instructing her to take the SAT and apply to the university.
Caleb Ellis and Zachary Adams informed their young audience that firefighters not only put out fires but they also rescue cats from trees, their best friends are Dalmatians and firetrucks come in a variety of colors, including yellow and pink. Firefighters are also environmentally friendly because they save trees from destruction during forest fires.
Daniel gave the students a list of questions to answer with their research. The salary, job overview, working environment, education and training requirements, and expected job growth were some of the areas of inquiry.
Brooke Evans and Raelynn Vargas created a chart that showed the prospective job growth of marine biology in four year increments over the next 40 years.
Kelli Bryson, a volunteer at the Etowah Humane Society, attended the event and brought a dog from the shelter. Jillian Boyter and Ciara Bernowski invited her to come help illustrate their careers of marketing manager and business owner. Both girls are members of the EES Pet Club and would like to find a way to integrate helping animals with their fields of interest.
Bryson said, “This is a wonderful experience because it gives the kids insight into jobs they may not know much about and not to mention its just fun.”
Daniel said the school plans to continue the revamped Career Day next year. “Some of the fourth-graders have asked if they will get to do this next year. So it was good for them to see how it worked and it seemed to excite them. We are looking forward to building on the success of this year.”