Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Students get professional advice

Cedar Ridge career day gives students a glimpse into future

It’s a question most youngsters are likely to have heard at least once.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now, 12-year-old Tate Deardorff might have a bit of an edge when giving his answer, thanks to Cedar Ridge Middle School’s annual career day Friday, April 29.POST PHOTO: ELIZABETH KELLAR - Baker and cake decorator Hope Nealey speaks to Cedar Ridge Middle School students as part of the schools annual career day event Friday, April 29.

The event brought some 30 professionals to the school to share their occupational insights, including presenters from the medical and law enforcement fields, big-name companies, small business owners, inventors, artists and more.

For Tate, the experience was unforgettable.

“So far, it’s really fun,” said Tate, a sixth-grader. “You get to see people from other jobs and learn about their experiences.”

Students were able to attend four, half-hour sessions. Tate picked sessions with pilot Mark Harris, Nike technical designer Lynn Freeman and photographer Becky Nerpel. One of the most striking details he’d learned at the Nike session was that a T-shirt design could take four months to create.

Tate is leaning towards a career in photography.

Helping the students sort out those kinds of uncertainties — or at least to encourage them to begin thinking about it — is one of the purposes of career day, said Principal Nicole Johnston. The event also gives the children a chance to hear more about various professions directly from the people who work in those areas.

By the time the students finish middle school they will have been exposed to 12 different professions over three events.

“Our hope is that somewhere in there, it will help them start making decisions about what they want to study,” Johnston said. “Our hope is that we give those kids those opportunities now, so they don’t have to wait so long.”

The event also aimed to give students a time to hear from a wide range of professionals, Johnston said. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming of becoming a doctor or lawyer, but Johnston said she wants to offer students the idea that there are many careers available to them, including some that fall outside the traditional.

Among the less-conventional careers were a drone inventor, a life coach and a baker. Many of the professionals at the event were from Sandy, but some came from Milwaukie, Beaverton and Portland.

Amanda Hansen, 14, attended a session with the day’s dentist presenter.

She happens to know a bit about that gig already — Dr. Paul Hansen is her father, after all — but she enjoyed it anyway, she said. Rather than speaking exclusively about dentistry, her father also talked about what it means to have a good job, including a satisfactory salary and a schedule that allows for time with your family.

She said she appreciated that the Career Day speakers were willing to take time out of their day to come and share their stories.

“It helps kids to be on the right track,” said Amanda, an eighth-grader. “You get more real life experiences.”