Saturday April 6, 2013

BAILEY T. O’NEILL

Special to the Banner

BENNINGTON -- From April 1 to 5, local schools hosted professionals to teach students about careers they could pursue after their education, whether that be after completing high school or college.

The program at Mount Anthony Union High School was held during daily seminars, a 15-minute block in the middle of the day. The high school hosted 18 professionals from various fields, all located in Bennington, who told students about their careers and the paths that led them to their current employer. Although each presenter’s story was different, all of the speakers professed the importance of finishing school and finding a career that is enjoyable.

"Find a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life," said Marty Shaw of Global Z to a group of students Thursday.

On Tuesday and Thursday, Southwest Vermont Career Development Center teachers set up stations during lunch periods in the atrium to inform students about courses offered at the technical center.

"We had half of our teachers set up on Tuesday and half on Thursday," said Barbara Gorbaty, a teacher who organized the event. "The program was about letting kids know what kind of careers and opportunities are out there and letting them know what pathways they can take to get there."

The focus at Pownal Elementary School was somewhat different; trying to get the idea of a career ingrained in students at a young age and teaching them the importance of an education.


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Taylor Andrews, a sixth grader at Pownal Elementary learned, "little steps are important in order to be successful, like getting out of bed in the morning and being respectful to your teachers."

"Meeting people and learning about their jobs was the best part," said Damian Wilkinson Torres, a fifth grader, who enjoyed meeting the engineer because, as he put it, "building the race cars and the spaceships looks really cool."

Dan Rourke, an engineer who spent Wednesday talking with the children, said, "It’s very beneficial to tell kids about a career if it’s done in the right way. If I were to start talking about the in-depth things of engineering they wouldn’t understand it. So I showed them pictures and videos of race cars and rocket ships to show the exciting part of what engineers do."

Rourke was one of 24 professionals who spoke at Pownal Elementary Wednesday, of whom 17 stayed for half the day and seven remained the duration of the school day.

Career fairs were also held at Mount Anthony Union Middle School and Southern Vermont College. Held in celebration of National Career Week, the sessions provided information to scores of students of all ages and helped educate them about the importance of completing their education and finding the right career.

Bailey O’Neill is a senior at Mount Anthony Union High School. He is interning at The Banner.