A different career day | News
BEREA – A lawyer, a computer scientist, a baker, an engineer and two journalists entered a college gymnasium on Thursday.
These diverse professionals were participating in a Career Day event held at Farristown Middle School – an event organized with the aim of teaching eighth graders some of the most surprising challenges they will face as adults.
The Register was invited to participate in the event, with senior reporter Blake Vickers and Kentucky Press Association summer intern Debra Murray able to sit down and answer questions about journalism from rotating student groups.
Other professionals present were Leah Lowe of Chaos Confections Bakery, members of the Berea Police Department, Detective Leslie Strong of the Kentucky State Police, members of EKU’s Justice and Security College and the EKU Natural Areas Division, David Ward, an attorney and military veteran, Dr. Sean Jackson of the Kentucky Department of Education, members of Madison County EMS, members of the Berea Fire Department, New Vista Counseling, author Dan Bryant, WBON TV, Hitachi, Diesel Mechanic Craig Johnson and Devin Price of Surge! Graphic design.
“Probably the cookie I got…at the bakery stand,” Max Mattox said when asked about his favorite part of the event. He also shared his thoughts on newspapers after visiting the Registry booth on Career Day.
“It’s really interesting that all of these diary pages go back to that time,” Mattox said.
The event was organized by eighth-grade social studies teacher Sheera Caudill, who had found that past Career Day events her students had attended did not provide accurate information on certain salaries.
“We had a ‘Reality Store’ across the district and it’s very similar to what we had, but with different numbers. Outdated numbers and fewer categories,” Caudill said. “What I did was I kind of took the last two weeks and researched local job postings and collected a few places… I matched them with what my kids told me they were interested.
The information gathered by Caudill was used to create a “Reality Day” event, where students would choose a job and simulate life – similar to the classic “Life” board game. Caudill considered many of the challenges of the adult world that students probably never thought of, including how the salaries of their chosen career would affect everything from health insurance, student loans, gasoline, etc.
“I felt like updating it and including those real life things and showing them that life is a bit more than just a number on a page and their paycheck wouldn’t go as far as ‘they meant it,” Caudill said.
She went to great lengths to organize the event – even working within current local prices for internet access and car payments (for this she used a list from a local car dealership). Caudill joked that several students had asked if they could bike to work after seeing the average cost of buying a car.
Caudill was asked to organize the event at the district level. While she was initially uninterested, Caudill said she almost immediately changed her mind.
“I had something like this when I was in eighth grade, but not on this scale,” Caudill said. “As a social science teacher, it’s part of our standard to introduce them to this kind of stuff, like not just government in the past, but also government these days. How our society works. That was the other goal, not only to show them careers and that life is one thing, but that there is so much more that they don’t realize and think about, but that they are almost of age where they have to think about these things.”