3-30-2022 – Students partake in a career fair

Posted on: March 30th, 2022 by admin No Comments


March 30, 2022




Mar 29, 2022


GAMEWELL — From the moment children are able to play dress-up and pretend to be an adult, they are asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”


Although some people enter the world with a calling, feeling inspired or driven, to do, or to be, others discover a career path through exploring opportunities that are available in their community.


Not everyone has a desire to attend a four-year college, or university, preferring rather to pursue a career in a skilled trade through apprenticeships, or certification programs.


After years of the education system guiding students toward bachelor’s degrees, or beyond, or toward careers in science, technology, and math, there is a shortage of individuals with knowledge and experience in skilled trades, which has created a tight market and placed individuals with skilled trade knowledge in high demand.


“In Caldwell County we do the reality store — all eighth graders participate in the reality store. It is an introduction to financial literacy and career opportunities,” Jamie Watson, instructional leader and curriculum developer, Caldwell County Schools. “It’s important for these students to know that there are careers out there more than what mom and dad do — and also there are careers they can go into right out of high school. We don’t need to push all of our students to go to college.”


On Tuesday, March 29, Gamewell Middle School students had the opportunity to explore potential careers as they visited various exhibits hosted by members of the community who serve in various professional positions.


The professionals shared their knowledge and insights with the students as students asked questions about salary, education, required skills, number of hours work, and the use of technology within the field.


Kelli Kelly, family nurse practitioner, who operates her own business, Family 1st Healthcare, talked with student Aubree Hearn, 8th grader, about the traits needed to be a nurse.


“You have to be confident in anything you do as a nurse,” said Kelly.


The day’s event was about giving the students the opportunity to explore career possibilities, even if it was not their initial chosen career path.


“I think I want to be a librarian because I like to read and helping others find what they like to read as well,” said Hern, while visiting the booth for speech pathology assistant.


As students perused the exhibits and spoke to representatives, they asked questions and wrote down information that they may use in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.


“What’s your starting salary,” asked Alexis Smith as she visited Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry’s exhibit and spoke with Wyndy Gregg, dental assistant, and Stacy Ingram, dental hygienist.


Students learned that the starting salary depends on which career path you choose because of the different levels of educational requirements. As a dental assistant, one may expect to make around $30,000 per year, while a dental hygienist may make upward to $60,000, starting out.


“What type of education do you have to have,” asked Anna Triplett.


Dental hygienist requires an associate’s degree, while a dental assistant may require certifications.


Other questions related to how to prepare for a career.


“What advice do you have for someone interested in your line of work,” asked Zoe McElyea, as she spoke with representatives from the State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU).


McElyea said she wants to pursue a career as a forensic scientist when she becomes an adult.


Officer Causby with the Burke County Detention Center shared with a student that communication is very important and clarified that communication goes beyond being able to talk with people, but also being able to have an understanding of how people communicate through body language and with their eyes.


The career fair is a precursor to the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.


Watson said that the Virtual Reality Store was designed by Anna Crooke, middle school education director, and features video interviews of different professionals, from various careers, introducing students to those careers and builds on their knowledge from the event.


Prior to participating in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson, students will visit the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) website to explore and be matched with careers they are interested in.


Students will select one of the careers from the CFNC website, then complete a mock job application for a position within that career field.


In addition, students will be prepped to participate in the lesson by learning about financial management.


Watson took the lead to organize the career fair made possible by members of the community and through coordination of the eighth grade teachers at Gamewell Middle School.


“All of the eighth grade teachers have worked hard in teaching the reality store lessons: Chrissy Byerly, Tori Greene, Carrie Holland, Babette Surratt, Leslie Nivens, and Beverly Norman,” said Jennifer M. Dineen, assistant principal, Gamewell Middle School, in an email


Representatives from the following agencies dedicated their time to spark students’ interest in the multitude of career opportunities available within the community: Berkshire Hathaway Realtors, August Creed Counseling, PLLC; UNC Blue Ridge, Speech Works Therapy Services, Gamewell Fire Department, Evans Funeral Services, Brushy Mountain Builders, Wells Fargo, Taste of Havana, Hickory Police Department, Burke County Detention Center, Waterlife, State Employees of Credit Union, Truist Banking, Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry, Family 1st Healthcare.

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