What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s the question everyone asks you from the time you’re born until you graduate. Starting in 2nd grade, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but once I got older, I started to consider other options. There are so many jobs out there, and as a student, I didn’t even know what some of them were!
The students at I.S. 61 are starting to think what they want to be when they grow up, beginning in 6th grade. I was recently asked to speak at the school’s Career Day as a young professional and alumna. Walking through the doors, ready to speak to the students, it brought me back to my 7th grade year. One of my teachers, Mr. Kantrowitz, asked my parents at my parent-teacher conference where I was thinking of going to college. My parents just looked at him, confused, because I was only in 7th grade. He told them that I should already start thinking about it. When it came time to apply to college several years later, my parents and I thought back on how he was right.
About 40 career professionals spoke to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes individually. The goal of Career Day was to get the children thinking beyond school and have them learn about different occupations they may never have even heard of. I spoke alongside firefighters, engineers, bakers, exercise professionals, bankers and a flight attendant. I spoke to five 8th grade classes and two 6th grade classes.
After introducing myself, and noting that I too attended I.S. 61, I was bombarded with questions from the students. They wanted to know everything from what education path I took to what I do for the Borough President. I brought up different programs our office has worked on, including Pave Baby Pave and Too Good for Drugs, and many of the students were familiar with these initiatives.
Then to my surprise, they started asking me about other projects happening on the Island. They wanted to know more about the NY Wheel, Empire Outlets, the mall expansion and even the Fast Ferry! Not only were these students learning about the Borough President’s office, they were fascinated about what is going on in their community.
It was a great experience for both the students and me. The students were engaged, and I believe that they are on the right track in their preparations for high school and beyond. This was a great way for the students to learn about different industries and occupations. I look forward to speaking to the kids again next year.