Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Future police officers, firefighters, marine biologists, pilots, nurses and even journalists sat with rapt attention Friday morning as more than a dozen community volunteers took turns sharing the ins and outs of their jobs with the sixth graders at Nichols Intermediate School in Jacksonville.
The first "Career Day" follows closely on the heels of "College Day" and gives students "a chance to engage with people in careers they might not have been exposed to," said Nichols Counselor Carrie Mauldin. "It's so important for the students to see what's out there and know what options they have and what they have the potential to become."
Treyvon Conwell, 13, said the best part of Career Day was hearing about the different types of jobs, like being a firefighter.
"It's interesting to hear what adults do," said Jacob Sessions, 11.
Sierra Mosley, 12, focused on what she would need to learn in order to fulfill her dream job someday.
Careers represented included being the county judge, a police detective, a city animal control officer, a newspaper editor, a nurse, a firefighter, a school administrator and a pilot.
As a matter of fact, Jacksonville resident Joe Casey, owner of Casey Aviation, Inc., wrapped up the program for the entire sixth grade with a presentation on his career as an Internation-al Ferry Pilot.
"Basically, if someone needs an airplane picked up in an exotic place, I go get it," he told the assembly, weaving in tales of far away countries he's visited such as Oman, Iceland, Scotland, Korea and Bosnia.
Casey, a former Black Hawk and Apache helicopter pilot for the United States Army, shared his favorite part of being a pilot. He spun a large globe, "This right here is a huge world," he said. "There is a lot beyond Cherokee Coun-ty and the best way to get to it is in an airplane."
Aviation, Casey said, is one of the "best careers to get into" because "our society is becoming more and more mobile and traveling a lot" and people will "always need pilots."
After his presentation, which included pictures of the planes he's flown and the exotic locales he's visited, students peppered him with questions, "Have you ever crashed?" (No, but he did experience engine failure once and had to make an emergency landing.) "What does it take to be a pilot?" and "How much do you make?"
Mauldin, who regularly guides her students through setting goals and planning ways to achieve them, was very pleased with the Career Day.
"I'm so excited for them to have this opportunity to see different careers," she said.
It's never to early to start thinking about the future, she continued.
"We break it down," she said. "We dissect their goals and get them thinking about how they can improve themselves. Thinking about it early, before high school or college, is critical."
And then there were the students with the more immediate goals.
"Will you put my picture in the newspaper tomorrow?" they begged.