They may be only about half of the way through their journey toward graduation, but Hayes Intermediate School students had the chance to learn about a variety of jobs May 16 when the school held its biennial Career Day.
All fifth- and sixth-grade students heard presentations from three of the more than 20 professionals from various fields who visited the school.
"We have this program every other year so that every student has a chance to participate," said Casie Elander, career day coordinator.
"We try to arrange to have people from a variety of careers come to speak to the students, not just from 'glamour' fields," she said. "We get a great response from the business community."
This year's roster included a veterinarian, nurse, doctor, detective, zoologist, meteorologist, firefighter, athletic trainer, race car driver, animator and preschool coordinator.
Each student heard 30-minute presentations from three speakers, Elander said.
"They each picked five people from our list of speakers and each of them were guaranteed to hear at least two of their top choices," she said. "Some careers are more popular than others among the students, so we couldn't get every student in to hear everyone they wanted."
One of the main messages each speaker gave was the importance of education in their chosen field, Elander said.
"We want students to realize that education is important and that now is the time for them to start thinking about what they need to do to prepare for future careers," she said.
"I hope they can see that there are endless possibilities and not just one career choice ahead for them," Principal Katie Nowak said. "We want them to realize that they need to start thinking now about what the educational requirements might be."
Career Day also can give students an idea of what various careers actually are like, which might help them get an early idea of what fields truly interest them, Elander said.
Sixth-grader Connor Estep said he was interested to hear the presentations from a sign language interpreter and a zoologist.
"They are both about helping others," he said. "An interpreter helps deaf people communicate and a zoologist can help take care of animals."
He might be interested in picking a career that involves helping others, Estep said.
"I'm starting to think about what kind of job I might like to have, but I'm still thinking it over," he said.
Sydney Stoll said she was interested in hearing from an athletic trainer and firefighter about their jobs.
"The trainer went from being an athlete in school to being a trainer," she said. "He was able to stay involved in sports."
The message that school is important wasn't lost on her, Sydney said.
"I know good grades are important for a career, but at the same time, I want to do something that's also fun," she said.