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Fair stirs imagination
Fifth-graders learn about options from professionals
2 Career Fair pic1
Exterminator Matthew Duncan shows Blacks Mill Elementary fifth-grader Jade Hall, 10, a snake after teaching students about pest control during a career fair Friday. - photo by Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News

To Lance Stiffler, the early career ambitions of today's students can be enhanced by exposure to a wide spectrum of choices.

"The main thing us school counselors are teaching [students] in fifth grade is job awareness," said Stiffler, guidance counselor at Robinson Elementary.

"We do some lessons with them on learning about their self-interests and how that would translate for them to find jobs they would be interested in."

Through a career fair Friday, more than 200 fifth-graders got a glimpse of a range of occupations, from an insurance agent and pastor to military service.

Students arrived aboard buses from the four county elementary schools for the sixth annual event at Rock Creek Park.

They moved around the park in classroom-sized groups, where volunteers with different businesses and government agencies talked about their jobs.

Riverview Elementary teacher Tiffany Jacobs said the event was beneficial.

"I think it's great for the students to see the careers that people are doing in our community and how it affects them in the classroom today and what they have to look forward to," she said.

Student Wyatt Higginbotham, 11, agreed.
"I have learned all about being a veterinarian, which I really like," said Higginbotham, who is still leaning toward becoming a videogame tester and designer.

"I think [the career fair] is a good thing for everybody because some people don't really know what career they want to be in yet," he said. "We are finding out more about the careers that we might want to go into."

Kilough Elementary student Jack Trammell, 11, said the fair confirmed his job interests, but also opened his eyes to other options.

"I would really like to be in the military," Trammell said. "My brother is in the ROTC and he tells me a lot about it and what it's like.

"But today I have also learned about exterminating, being an attorney and being a veterinarian."

Jordan White, also a Kilough student, said he wants to have a job involved with sports.

"I think I would like to be a baseball player," he said. "But I also liked all I have seen so far today - the attorney showing us a mock trial, pest control teaching us about insects and seeing all the tables."

Kilough Elementary student Kelsey Garcia, 11, said she was pleasantly surprised to learn about animal fostering possibilities.

"I want to be a veterinarian because I like to help animals so they don't hurt or get sick," she said.