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Sixth grade Career Day

April 19, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

North Tama sixth graders spent their Thursday learning about a multitude of diverse career options from area professionals during Career Day on April 11.

Local professionals-some of whom had graduated from North Tama themselves-volunteered or were asked by the staff to present about the careers to interested students. Students are given the opportunity beforehand to go through their options and select a first, second and third choice for career presentations.

"People are so generous with their time to come into school," Teresa O'Meara, Elementary Counselor said. "We rely on those local ties to North Tama and find careers they don't know about but see every day."

Article Photos

Dr. Don Briggs shows how a parachute works with a lucky student volunteer.
Editor’s note: no students were pushed out of plane in the making of this photo.

The day started off with Dr. Don Briggs from the University of Northern Iowa as the keynote speaker for the entire sixth grade class. Briggs was previously the Panther's wrestling coach from 1981 to 1997 as well as a physical education teacher at the university. He has taught classes on outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing, backpacking and more. For North Tama students, Briggs showed off his ice climbing, archery and even parachuting equipment. While retired, Briggs stays active with his activities and occasionally does presentations at schools, engaging them in outdoor fun.

"I want these kids to know that you can find an occupation you can really enjoy," Briggs said. "I hear some people say 'gosh I hate working in a factory' or 'i can't wait to retire.' For me personally, I didn't retire until 70. I loved talking to this attentive group and getting the point across anyone can do these activities. We've become a nation that's become lazy, so we need to get kids outdoors and make it an enjoyable experience for them. 70 years from now, some of these kids will still be doing this activities."

Students then broke off into sessions, starting with either cosmetology with Christy Bradley or construction with Scott Monat before lunch and recess. Sessions then broke off further between rooms as students explored early childhood education, coaching, law enforcement, EMS, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, etc.

"I feel the students were really engaged and enjoyed this year," O'Meara said. "You can just tell when that age group loses interest as they go blank. The presenters keep it relevant that a sixth grader will understand. They will be writing thank you notes to these presenters."

Students will be discuss their thoughts on their Career Day and talk about what they learned from their sessions, feedback O'Meara states has been "very positive."

"There's definitely an awareness as they begin to explore careers," O'Meara said. "The best way to learn about careers is to shadow them, watching them work. It's just as important also to know what you don't want to do. If you want to work outside, you need to know that about yourself."

Becky Adams watched her sixth grade students participate in presentations about football coaching, cosmetology and several other careers. Adams explains she learns a lot from her students afterwards also about the sessions she cannot attend.

"I have been apart of Career Day for thirteen years and find it is a wonderful tie in to our counseling curriculum of choices and interests," Adams said. "Students love this day and learn a little about themselves along the way. We do a take away session the next day and discuss the different careers since you cannot attend them all, we talk about what they learned about themselves through the process, it allows for some great dialogue."

According to O'Meara, the event has become a staple in sixth grade for 22 years and has become a fun due to the fact many presenters are alumni and/or parents of students.

"There's so much good in the world for these people to come in with these hands-on presentations to get these kids excited for future careers," O'Meara said.



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