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Fifth graders learn connection between academics, career
A-Fifth grade career fair pic1
Robinson Elementary students Brianna Savage and Ian Costley get married by classmate Iris Huff while Youth Pastor Eric Watson and Pastor Mike Owens of New Life Church of God guide them through the ceremony during the Fifth Grade Career Day. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

Robinson Elementary fifth grade students Ian Costley and Brianna Savage had to be reassured they weren't really married.

After classmate Iris Huff declared them man and wife, there was a bit of relief that the ceremony wasn't the real deal, according to their fifth grade teacher Vickie Carlisle.

Pastor Mike Owens had assured them that without a license, Huff could not actually perform the ceremony for the underage students.

Fifth grade students from Dawson County elementary schools converged at Rock Creek Park Monday to learn more about career opportunities for the future.

The event has been held for 10 straight years according to Robinson Elementary counselor, Lance Stiffler.

"By fifth grade, we reinforce the connection between academics and the world of work. We help students develop a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can use that knowledge to make good career choices in the future," Stiffler said.

By the time students leave the fifth grade, the approximately 250 kids in Dawson County's four elementary schools will each have completed a career portfolio.

For Robinson students that involves writing an essay, doing job research, looking into college requirements and developing a Powerpoint presentation, according to Stiffler.

Riverview Elementary students listened while Chad Cofield and Jarred Parker of Amicalola EMC talked about arc flash dangers and the needs of flame retardant clothing while working with high voltage.

"We've got some pretty neat toys we play with," Parker said.

He then asked students what they thought was the number one reason for loss of power.

"Lightning," guessed one student.

Others called out answers, but were surprised to hear that the number one reason is squirrels.

"They like to chew on the wires," Parker said.

Dana Fowler's class from Kilough Elementary listened while Brett Duncan of Duncan Exterminating explained the dangers and consequences of leaving insect infestations unchecked.

Duncan explained how he had seen a 10 foot termite tunnel go up in a 24 hour period and showed photos of a man's hand who had been bitten by a brown recluse.

The progressively graphic slides were a hit.

"I have a slide from nine days after the bite-want to see it?" he asked.

"Yes!" came the unison response and Duncan giggled at the disgusted response to the image.

He continued explaining that large exterminating companies will have a staff entomologist and Fowler took the opportunity to teach students the meaning of the word by breaking it down.

Tami Barrett's class from Kilough made their way outside to hear how firefighters James Free and Chris Gilreath use their gear for getting in a burning home.

Free told students that the protective gear necessary to go into a burning home weighs 67 pounds and will survive to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit before the material begins to break down.

"A normal house fire is between 300-1,000 degrees," he said.

"Holy cow!" was one student's response as Free continued explaining and asked if anyone had been in an ambulance.

Students made their way through multiple stations inside and outside to hear from a veterinarian, an attorney, an architect, jeweler, photographer and science fiction author, among others.

"Our main goal at the elementary level regarding career education is to provide awareness of the different career fields available," Stiffler said.

Stiffler says they are always looking for people in the community who would be interested in presenting at the event. For anyone interested, contact an elementary school counselor for more information.