Plainville High students explore career options

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Last Thursday, Plainville High School hosted its 6th annual Career Day event for students in grades 9-12. There were over 70 speakers representing more than 40 fields and careers including but not limited to all branches of the military, many different trades, jobs in the arts and different forms of manual labor. Many of the speakers were alumni of PHS.

The morning opened with words from Assistant Superintendent Steve LePage and State Representative Dr. Bill Petit, as well as a breakfast that was sponsored by Dunkin Donuts, via Marc Koss, who would be speaking in the Business Management room. Speakers were then led by volunteer students to the rooms in which they would be giving their presentations. During the two hour event, each room would see three groups of students, that would rotate through the areas in which students showed interest.

“The students were surveyed on the career sectors they were interested in,” said Lynne Davis, the director of Community Relations of Plainville schools. The information was then shared with the Career Day Planning Committee and they were able to contact speakers, tailoring each career day event to that year’s students. Once the speakers were selected, each student was able to use their biographies to select the three sectors they were most interested in learning about

“I think they’re [Career Day events] critical because we really offer a comprehensive curriculum, with the best technology and amazing teachers but, until students actually have experience and first-hand knowledge from presenters who come in and speak about what they actually do on a day-to-day basis in their careers, they really don’t  have an understanding of what they might be pursuing,” said LePage. Afterwards, the students will be surveyed about what they learned, gained and hopes for the following year.

One Plainville High graduate, Dr. Bill Petit, believes that knowing your strengths as well as job availability is very important. “I think it’s important to give young people some ideas about what they can dream about and what they can hope for,” said Petit. “You want kids in high school to have a fairly open mind about what potential careers are out there and not suppress or tamp down people’s aspirations, because if you can dream it, if you can think it, if you have the motivation; you probably can do it.”

This was the first year there was a “What Can I Do with this Major?” room, led by Emily Canto, a career counselor at Middlesex Community College. Throughout her presentation, Canto emphasised what she calls “reality testing”; a way to get a better sense of what a career entails.

“Reality testing can be a lot of different things,” said Canto. “From doing a share a day shadow program, to internships, doing informational interviews with someone in the field you may be considering, to volunteer work to get a sense of what it really means to be, say, a nurse in a hospital versus a nurse in a physician’s office.”

And many presenters shared that outlook. In the room dedicated to the culinary arts, presenters Alyssa Anello, a baker at Harpo’s Bakery, restaurant owner Tina Autunno and Gary Brummet, a catering coordinator for ShopRite and Durst Markets, all said that starting early is important. Similarly, school psychologist Jeri Turkowitz believes that events such as career day gives all students the opportunity to investigate a variety of career options.

“I think it’s a real opportunity for them to see a real connection from the curriculum and their progression through high school to a high school degree to a college degree,” said Roberto Medic, principal of Plainville High School. “Or, a high school degree to a certification, or a diploma and work of the military, and the skills those can provide you with for the remainder of your life, in terms of a career.”

Overall, the faculty and presenters had a similar message to the students; find something that motivates you to continue to push yourself each and every day. And that message was well received.

Peyton Warnat, a junior, went into Career Day unsure of what he wanted pursue. “I have no plan of what I want to do in life,” said Warnat. “But, I just came from Aaron Sarra [a lawyer] and he was really good, he really helped.” By the end of Career Day, Warnat had decided that he wants to pursue a career in law, proving that inspiration can come from anyone or anywhere.