From finance and real estate to public safety and tech-based jobs, eighth graders had the chance to learn about future career choices firsthand during Dawson County Junior High School’s second annual “Career Exploration Day” Thursday.
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The junior high gym was transformed into an arena-style booth setup, with around 40 tables stashed with a range of business information and even tangible props. And at each table, students could talk to people employed at local businesses or marketing them, like the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.
Classes attended with their social studies teachers. Students were given a bingo card filled with questions to ask businesses, and upon completing it, they could enter the card into a raffle drawing for a gift card.
“It’s questions like, ‘How’d you get started in your career? What background do you need [in order] to do this career? What’s your favorite thing about your job?,” said Work-Based Learning Teacher Kristy Moore, who helped coordinate the event.
Dawson County High School junior Jonathan Graves explained how taking part in the information technology pathway has helped him practice coding for computer games and apps.
DCHS junior Tyler Tangle spoke about his experiences in Future Business Leaders of America or FBLA.
“The competitions help us [with job skills] because they have categories like job interviews, testing or game development,” Tangle said of the club. “You can enter different competitions based on what you’re good at.”
During the career day, students also got to grow their perspectives about various job fields.
“When you live here, you may not realize what your town has to offer,” the chamber’s tourism and events director, Dustin Heard, said about local attractions and entertainment spots. “I think it’s that perspective of taking a step back and seeing what we have.”
“I love doing these kinds of things because a lot of people don’t realize… that there’s so many different job opportunities within a nonprofit,” said Amy Palmer, outreach coordinator for The Place of Dawson County. “If you don't have some people doing that business side, the nonprofit won't survive.”
Wesley Bearden with Bearden Funeral Home emphasized the importance of being able to talk with people, a skill that can apply to any job.
“If you're not able to talk to folks, then you're not going to be able to help when it’s such a sensitive time,” Bearden said of his family's business.
“We kind of go back to how rewarding it is to be able to help folks in the community when they need it the most,” he added about his comments to students.
Student Cali Snode said she was surprised that a lot of the professionals there were “able to be their own bosses.”
“I didn't know that that many people can choose their hours,” Snode said. “So when they start their own business, they get to have a lot more control over it.”