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Elementary students consider career choices
E-Crayons to Careers pic 1
Gemologist Geri Cronier explains to second graders how to use drawing skills to design a piece of jewelry. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

Students from Black's Mill Elementary School spent last Friday getting a glimpse into the future with their second annual "Crayons to Careers" event.

On Oct. 14, representatives from all types of industries set up throughout the building. Inside classrooms and outside in the parking lot, they visited with kids regarding future career possibilities.

The idea came from Black's Mill school counselor, Tonya Corbett, who says this is her passion.

"I believe that it is our responsibility as educators to help to open the minds of our students to the many opportunities that are available in our world," said Corbett. "I do not believe that our elementary students will necessarily know exactly what they want to do as a career...however, I want them to be exposed to as many choices as possible to start them thinking and prepare them for decision making one day."

The volunteers included representatives from small and large businesses alike.

The career options covered agriculture, law, public safety, transportation, arts and communications, education, health science, energy, hospitality and tourism, human services, architecture, business, government, marketing and more.

An Atlanta Braves representative gave a presentation and passed out hats and foam tomahawks.

Steven Swofford, from the Dawson County Sheriff's Department, met classes in the parking lot so they could see all of the equipment he carries on his belt, as well as get a look inside a police cruiser.

After describing pepper spray as something similar to when you get shampoo in your eyes, he asked eager elementary students "Why would I carry a flashlight in day time?"

"Because it can burn your eyes!" came one response.

Swofford went on to explain that just because it is daytime, officers will not always be in well-lit places and may need light.

As he demonstrated his police baton, he explained to the kids about nerves that run down the side of a person's arms or legs and that if they are hit properly it will make the perpetrator go numb. Swofford refers to his baton as "the equalizer."

In a classroom, third graders from Rebecca Johnsen's class listened to a life skills development teacher for athletes at the University of Georgia, Robert Miles.

Miles gave insight to a student athlete's life and the dedication it takes to balance school and sports.

"The gymnasts are the best athletes at the University of Georgia," Miles said to a surprised group. "They may not run the fastest or jump the farthest but what they do requires the most skill."

He also explained that the swimmers work the hardest with practices twice a day throughout the entire year.

In the art room, gemologist Geri Cronier told a second grade class what it takes to turn a love for art into a practical profession.

Cronier described the way she draws out a design for a piece of jewelry and then sends it to someone who will convert it into a computer aided design before a mold is made and the piece is created.

She gave the kids a chance to see the step-by-step progress as it goes from an idea, to a drawing, to a computer drawing with specs, to an eventual piece of jewelry.

"Can you make a ring out of titanium?" one student asked.

Cronier explained the way titanium differs from other metals and how it is valued for its strength and is generally chosen by men.

She also explained that she uses skills every day that the kids are currently learning in class. The lawyer-turned-jeweler encouraged kids to pursue what they love.

Corbett said that with the help of the school, parents and the Dawsonville and greater Atlanta communities she was able to find 24 guest speakers for the kids.

"Georgia Department of Education requires that students begin to learn about different careers and career clusters," Corbett said. "The students will remember the guests from today for a long time."