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Elementary students get early look at careers

'Education Fun Day' holds kids' interest on penultimate day of school

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Summer Weitman teaches students at Grant Watts Elementary School about hairdressing during a career expo Monday, June 8.Students at Grant Watts Elementary School spent their penultimate day of school before summer break learning about career opportunities for the school’s “Education Fun Day” on Monday, June 8.

Second- and third-grade students heard presentations from more than a dozen professionals about different jobs, including forestry, law enforcement and different kinds of engineering.

The career expo was the second one held at Grant Watts Elementary, although it was smaller last year, according to school counselor Tami McDonald.

“The goal is just to give our kids an exposure to different types of careers,” McDonald explained.

A quick survey of students Monday afternoon supported the notion that even at a young age, they’re already thinking about what they want to do when they grow up.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - From left, third-grade students Sophia Sideras, Connor Parsons, Makenna Frasier and Wes Dawson pose during a career expo Monday, June 8, in the cafeteria of Grant Watts Elementary School.Not every career of interest to students was on display — for instance, third-grader Candace Rowland said she wants to be an art teacher — but some were, like hairdressing, which Megan Earl said she wants to do, and being in the military, in which Wes Dawson wants to serve someday.

Some jobs required a little bit of explanation.

Jay Worley, a retired state forester, described the difference between a forester and a logger. The professions are connected, he said, but are not exactly the same.

“The loggers are the guys who actually cut down the trees,” Worley told students. “The foresters are the guys who work with the loggers to figure out which trees they should cut.”

Students were brimming with energy Monday, as the sun shone brightly outside and many undoubtedly dreamed of the adventures they’ll have over their summer break.

But many of the career presentations still grabbed their attention. Students excitedly tried on orange safety vests and earmuffs at a station manned by the Scappoose Public Works Department, and they were rapt as Leland Piccolo of the U.S. Army showed a slideshow of photographs from his recent deployment to Afghanistan.

McDonald said the career expo is a way to make sure kids were still learning on their second-to-last school day before the break.

“They’re ready to be out of school, but we still want it to be educational,” she said.

Kindergarten and first grade were also treated to the career expo Monday morning, but the selection of careers that was presented was more limited, McDonald said.