Nearly 200 volunteers speak at TES career fair

Nearly 200 volunteers speak at TES career fair
Posted on 01/02/2020
The library at Tahoma Elementary School was filled with budding entrepreneurs, pilots, designers and firefighters earlier this month as nearly 200 parents, grandparents and community volunteers shared with students about their jobs. Getting a glimpse into a wide variety of occupations was part of the school’s first Career Fair, organized by Future Ready Specialist teachers Thomas Eccles and Kristina Boyd.

The idea is a good example of the Creative Innovator Future Ready Skill that many Tahoma students and staff display year-round, Principal Jerry Gaston said. Earlier this fall, Boyd and Eccles shared their idea for a career fair with Gaston and then began planning how it would come together.

“What was initially planned as a one-day event quickly grew to a week-long event with (many) parents involved in sharing their careers with our TES students. In the lunchroom, at recess and in classrooms schoolwide I am hearing conversations between students about ‘what I am going to be when I grow up’ that has a new, special and more substantial meaning than ever before,” Gaston said. “There has perhaps never been a situation at our school that more accurately illustrates the concepts of ‘Future Ready’ coming to life better than our Career Fair. The work we do at TES to educate our community’s children is an innovative partnership with all staff and all parents.”

Eccles said they came up with the idea to help give some context to the Future Ready Skills, and asked the nearly 200 speakers to point out connections between the skills and elements of their work.
“A third-grade student asked, ‘Why are we doing Future Ready?’ We quickly realized the kids needed context for why you use these skills. Jerry also made our school goal community outreach so it seemed like the right thing to do,” Eccles added.

The career fair helped foster student curiosity using an authentic and engaging approach, Boyd said.
What that looked like in action was a room full of students in small groups, listening to community members talk about their jobs, and asking questions. Many of the presenters brought hands-on items such as protective gear, samples of their work or other visual aids for the students to check out.

Chris Nason of Nason’s Creations told a small group of students that he designs houses, and then builds them. As he spoke about his business, the boys at his table had the chance to try using a manual screwdriver to drive a screw into a piece of wood. Then, they tried an electric screwdriver to experience the difference. Nason showed them a variety of other tools, and talked about framing and erecting steel structures, along with other skills.

At a nearby table, Jeff Hill, owner of 1-800-Got-Junk, talked with students about his business, which helps remove belongings from people’s homes and saves them from the landfill. Hill talked about how the business grew from one truck to a fleet of 27, and the importance of good customer service skills and communication. Asked about the most interesting item he or his employees have run across, Hill said, “It’s all interesting!” and recalled the time that they were asked to remove a full-sized carved carousel horse, which they were able to sell for $6,000.

Artist Melissa Cory spoke with students about different types of art, such as mixed media, art created from recycled or “found” items, painting, sculpting and more. In her prior career, Cory was a surgical technician and wanted to work in a capacity that would allow her to use her creativity.
Software engineer Chris Newbill shared about the programming that goes into building a website and showed them some fun tricks by playing around with code. Then, he added their names to an online “Candyland” game and gave them a chance to play it.

Firefighter and inventor Steve Randall talked with students about how the fire department helps people, then showed them a tool he created called “RescueBlox,” which can help firefighters or emergency personnel quickly immobilize a vehicle and can hold the weight of three school buses.

“Usually what we would do is put a bunch of wood under a car, and I never liked that as a firefighter,” Randall said. So, he worked with an engineer to develop a safer solution, RescueBlox, which are made out of aluminum and only weigh 18 pounds. The idea took about two years to develop, Randall said.

He emphasized that the students can bring their own dreams to fruition through hard work.

“You guys will have good ideas someday, too!”
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