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Junior Journalist Update from Keller – By Joshua H.

March 7 was a half day like any other and everyone was excited, but it was not just the anticipation of an early dismissal that had the students riled up. A few weeks ago on an online survey, the kids had requested their top five professions they were interested in and now they had a chance to learn about them! At last, Career Day approached and each student had the opportunity to see five presenters before they left. People interested in sharing information on their jobs were scattered around the left side of the school, each having a classroom to seat the kids and a presentation to enlighten them. So much work was put into this event and there was so much knowledge to be gained.

Career Day is an opportunity for kids to learn about the many jobs available in the world.

Presenters will tell kids about their occupation. Students will learn what it is like to be in their shoes: what are the fun parts, how much freedom do you have, what is the pay like. People from the Keller community volunteered their time to help the students find their calling. Each volunteer created their own presentation detailing parts of their job. It was up to them what they would say and do. Some even passed out handouts from their job!

As one can imagine, there was a lot of work that went into preparing for such an event. Mrs. Sorensen, one of our science teachers, volunteered to be in charge of the Career Day last year and once again took up the position. Over the 13 years, Mrs. Sorensen had seen some Career Days flicker in and out; they were never sure to happen. She wanted to make certain that students had the opportunity to meet people from the careers they are interested in, so she decided to volunteer and it hasn’t been an easy job. Out of a group of all of the possibilities, students took a survey a few weeks before Career Day suggesting the top five careers that they’d like to learn about. At first glance, it doesn’t sound like that big of a task. You just put the kids into groups divided by five for each class period spent with a presenter and send the kids on their way. However, on closer inspection, many problems arise; there will be presenters that are more popular than the others. For example, lots of kids were interested in the cartoon artist. It would be simply impossible to just let the kids have all of the choices, and it was up to Mrs. Sorensen to organize all 540 students into the classes with presenters they would visit throughout the day. Mrs. Sorensen is not the only person putting work into career day. Mr. Barbini and the secretaries and lots more helped out!

Let’s not forget about the presenters themselves! I did an interview with our own Mrs. Younkin’s husband, who is a radiologic technologist in interventional radiology at the University of Chicago Medicine. Here are a few of the things that Mr. Younkin had to say.

Students listen as a career day visitor presents“I wouldn’t blame you if you had never heard of radiology before,” he stated. In fact, part of the reason Mr. Younkin came to Career Day was because he wanted to teach us about his job. Three times in a span of five questions he mentioned his interest in teaching. Once when I asked him about why he volunteered, he responded with, “Mrs. Younkin asked me if I wanted to participate in the Career Day and I thought it would be a great way to inform students about a job field that most are unfamiliar with.” As well, when I inquired about what his expectations were for the event, he said, “I didn’t have many expectations or know what to expect to be honest. Reflecting back on the day, I thought it was a lot of fun. I enjoy teaching and I hope the students that were in my session took something away from it.” In asking him about what he looked forward to, he said he was just excited to share about his profession. Obviously a little bit of Mrs. Younkin has worn off on him! Mr. Younkin’s schedule allowed him the ability to get the day off to share his presentation with Keller students. To keep organized, Mr. Younkin had created a Google Slides presentation. He felt that it was the best way to keep himself on topic, and it would also help give the students something to follow along to. It seems like most of the presenters had the same idea. I can’t say all of the presenters used some form of slides, but I know all five that I went to did and it seemed to work well with a visual representation of what they were talking about.

It was interesting to see the Career Day from so many different angles, from the person who organized it, to a person who presented, to a student watching with a peaked interest about all the new jobs and careers being shown before them. So much effort goes into creating an event like this and  hopefully all the students took the time to appreciate and absorb all the information given to them by the passionate people presenting.