May 5 was a very special day at Dickson Elementary School for the entire student body. Twenty-five visitors came to Dickson to share their educational and career experiences with the students for the annual Career Day. These special visitors volunteered to give their valuable time for the benefit of the students. A great variety of careers were represented at Career Day and students were given a wealth of information about career opportunities and responsibilities, educational and training requirements, and job satisfaction.
Students physically participated in a few of the presentations. Karate instructors Patrick Heffley and Lin Guo presented in the gym to expose students to basic moves, and dance instructor and business owner Amie Cooley gave mini hip hop lessons. Sound engineer Oriel Barry had the classes record their own rap music about school.
The medical field was well represented by Dr. Highland Campbell, an emergency room physician, Gail Ratliff Woomer, a registered nurse, and prosthetics technicians Anna Cordell, Jackie Greer, and Laura McRickard. Dr. Campbell had the kindergarten students listen to one another’s heartbeats, which they thought was very cool. Ms. Cordell, Ms. Greer, and Ms. McRickard brought many sample prosthetics for students to handle and examine as they explained how they are molded and made individually for patients.
Students learned about some business careers through Susan Shank from S & T Bank, Ms. Twanda Ross, and Mrs. Julie Bahta. Mr. Ryan Mancini of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review told students about careers in art and gave an overview of newspaper publication. NASA Engineer Chris Greve gave a fascinating presentation on his work, including unique space photos.
Officers Kalogeris and Tomei of the Swissvale Police Department, Swissvale Fire Chief Clyde Wilhelm, Firefighters Sean and Paul, and Military Police Officer Private First Class Hawthorne all gave wonderful presentations on public service occupations. Students got to explore a Swissvale fire truck and hear the sirens.
Live animals were the highlight of presentations by Monroeville Petland employees Lauren Cassler, Kurt Karcher, and Lauren Czapori. The children enjoyed visiting with the snake, ferret, puppy, and parrot and learned a lot about their needs and care. Mrs. Carlino may even be buying the puppy to be her dog’s companion!
Tammy Frech of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of the Animal Rescue League brought an owl with her. The students learned about the center’s work, the differences between domestic and wild animals of Pennsylvania, and the proper procedures for handling and reporting injured animals. Dickson Elementary students and staff are very grateful to the anonymous donor who made the Wildlife Rehabilitation presentation possible. The wildlife educational program was a very generous gift that the students will hold as one of their most memorable school experiences.
Students were treated to very special visits from guests Mike Clark of WTAE and Ryan Mundy of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr. Clark spoke to the fourth graders about working on television and the importance of education. Mr. Mundy spoke to the fifth graders about his NFL career and especially his education. He related his own experiences with teachers and his parents who pushed him to be successful to the current experiences of the students.
Career Day was very successful due to the unselfish volunteers who gave of their time to the students. The children were fully engaged in the presentations and the Dickson teachers were proud of their many insightful and intelligent questions. I would like to thank all members of the Dickson School Spirit Leadership Committee who helped plan the day, and a very special thank you to Mrs. Lyndsey Love, assistant principal, who scheduled and organized all the presentations.
The future will tell if these very special visitors planted the seeds that will inspire a child’s career choice.