Career Day gives choices

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The tables were turned Monday when Glade School students talked with representatives of various businesses and organizations. Instead of the usual presentations by the company’s employees, seventh- and eighth-graders interviewed them one-to-one.

The event was the school’s first Career Fair, the related assignment was for their English class.

Questions regarding career choices were formulated by the students, with a review paper to be submitted after the event.

“This is an excellent opportunity to bring our community into the school,” said teacher Annette Dietz. “Although this is our first Career Fair, we hope to make it an annual event.”

Dietz and fellow teacher, Ondena Farlough, were instrumental in coordinating the day’s activities. After receiving a list from the Chamber of Commerce, they sent 275 invitations, asking for participation. Targeted were businesses and organizations in the River Parishes.

Sixty replies arrived at the school. Thirty were scheduled for Monday’s morning session, and 30 for the afternoon session.

“Our administration was very supportive of the Career Fair,” said Farlough. She added that parents also responded positively. “They made name tags and decorated the room.”

Students were to dress professionally and present their questions in a courteous manner. The teachers felt they would benefit greatly by the event.

“These students are at the transitional age, where they may want to look for a job,” said Dietz. “This gives them the opportunity to see what careers interest them, and also to compare.”

She added that the role reversal (with the youngsters doing the interviewing) made for a more relaxing, yet professional, atmosphere.

Glade PTO President Carla Prout felt the event opened up an important ‘business’ aspect for the students.

They were told to wear casual business attire and act accordingly.

Prout’s son, Shelby, was among the eighth-graders in the morning interviewing session.

She observed his interactions with the business people from a distance.

“He was so serious, I was so proud of him,” she said.

Prout added that many other parents stopped by during the day.

“They were very supportive of this and wanted to see how things were going,” she said.

“It gives them an opportunity to see their children in a different light.

Gina Gatewood-Lucas talked with students regarding her position as Sales Manager at the Best Western Hotel and Hampton Inn.

“I was asked why I chose this particular career, and how to prepare for it,” she said.

“I told the students that I enjoy dealing with the public, and that hard work and motivation will help them achieve their goals.”

Students Tamara Stirgus and Amanda Callahan are considering careers in the medical field.

Each of them talked with representatives of the River Parishes Hospital.

“I asked one of the doctors about the stress involved in his job,” said Tamara. “He said there was quite a bit.”

The eighth-grader is looking toward a career as a doctor, specializing in pediatrics.

Callahan is looking to a career in nursing. She geared her questions toward the amount of schooling required, as well as what a typical day in a hospital entails.

At one of the booths, representatives of St. John Parish One Stop Center were able to inform students two-fold. After responding to the career questions, employees outlined their services.

The organization, which works within the River Parishes Workforce Investment Act, offers employment assistance, as well as other related services.

Interviewees were glad to know this type of help is available for their future job-hunting.

The students’ special assignment wasn’t over after the interviews.

They have about a week to compile a report on their Career Fair experience. It is to be presented to their English teachers for review, according to Farlough. Listed in this report will be the student’s view of the information received from the company representatives, as well as their opinions on a career path.