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Ecole Kenwood

Career Day speakers seek to inspire students

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Chef Jonathan O'Carroll talks to students about life in the culinary arts during career day at Ecole Kenwood Alternative Elementary School on March 20.
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Students at Ecole Kenwood last week got to ask questions -- in English, although it is a French immersion middle school -- the answers to which might hold the key to their futures.

For the fourth year in a row, the Middle School Leadership Team at Ecole Kenwood, with the help of language arts and history teacher Deacon Hooper, hosted a Career Day.

"We had just a variety of people come in," Hooper said as the event was winding down.

Representatives of 15 different professions and pursuits were on hand, including doctors, lawyers and a forensic scientist, whose presentation the students found especially interesting, he said.

"Most of the careers that we had, they were pretty interesting," student Imani Roberts said.

The Northeast Side resident is president of the leadership team.

"Some of them I didn't know existed," Imani added. "It was really cool."

"They talked about some good things about the jobs, some challenges about the jobs," said Hooper, who lives in the Northland area and is adviser to the Middle School Leadership Team.

"They basically like coming and talking to their kids, and inspiring the young people to do their best, achieve their dreams in any profession they choose."

Hooper said it is gratifying that some of the people he and his wife, fellow teacher Michelle Hooper, recruit to attend the Career Day events often say it was a teacher or someone speaking at a career day they attended themselves who inspired them to their chosen profession.

"A lot of them are friends," Deacon Hooper said. "I kind of twist those arms a bit.

"You call in favors from time to time."

Exposing students at Ecole Kenwood to careers they might not previously have known existed is another purpose behind inviting a variety of speakers to the annual events.

"We had a forensic scientist, which was really, really cool," said Ellie Ervin, a 14-year-old Ecole Kenwood student from Clintonville.

Ecole Kenwood is a lottery school, drawing its student body from throughout Columbus City Schools.

"It was very good to hear how many years of training you have to have to be a forensic scientist or to be successful as an entrepreneur to be taken seriously," Ellie said.

Imani Roberts was intrigued that one of the Career Day participants wanted to be a dancer when she was young but wound up becoming an internal auditor.

"It was interested how they transitioned to different things," Roberts said.

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