Taylor’s Creek Elementary School students got the chance to meet horses, practice CPR and play with money counters Friday, and it was all in a day’s work.
The opportunities came during the school’s annual career day, where representatives from 25 businesses and agencies shared insight into their professions.
“I think it is very important for the business community to get involved — not just with career day, but with schools …,” counselor Sasha Quarles said. “I think it’s so important for the business people to come out and say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to leave Hinesville, you can stay here, you can have a job — but these are the things that we need you to do: We need you to pay attention in math. We really need you to learn how to read. And what you do here is your foundation to get you to where you can be a coach or work at the bank.’”
Career education is an ongoing focus for the school, but it especially ramps up in fifth grade, Quarles added.
Fourth-grader Hazel Quarterman and fifth-grader Jonathan Adams said they often think about what they’d like to do in the future.
Every time she reads a book, Hazel said she sits down with a blank piece of paper and duplicates the pictures inside — practice for her potential future as a cartoonist. But, she adds, the event gives her a chance to explore other options, too.
“I really like career day, because people take their time and come to our school to teach us about what we want to know, and encourage us to do what they’re doing,” Hazel said. “I think it’s very important, because if we didn’t learn about it, our choices would be limited.”
Doctors, nurses, teachers and law enforcement officers are among the professions Quarles most frequently hears students discuss, and some field representatives offered hands-on activities.
Wayne Fort, a respiratory therapist with the Memorial University Medical Center Children’s Hospital, used an infant CPR training dummy to explain his job to students and give them a feel for it.
While Fort explained his job, students tried on stethoscopes and pumped resuscitation bags into the doll’s mouth.
“We need a lot of interest — we need a lot of therapists,” Fort said. “This is one of the best learning tools we have, hands-on, especially for young people, to get a live experience.”
To ensure the students connected information about the careers to classroom lessons, teachers passed out lists of questions for the students to ask about the professions, Quarles said.
Midway Police Chief Kelli Morningstar explained that police officers use math to conduct traffic accident investigations, reading to understand laws and various sciences for different types of investigations, she said.
Morningstar engaged children with fingerprint kits, law books and hand-outs about calling 9-1-1, and she also allowed them to hold a bullet-proof detective vest.
“It’s exciting, and it’s everywhere; law enforcement is everywhere,” she said when asked why children are so interested in the field. “Other jobs, unless you go to them, you don’t really see it, but law enforcement, firefighters, they’re in the streets all the time — you see them.”
Jonathan, who has considered law enforcement or professional baseball, said that other representatives at the event also drew his attention to animals and forestry.
“It’s awesome. I get to think about what I want to do when I grow up …,” he said. “I have a lot ahead of me, and I just want to plan it before I do it.”