Pelham students engage with local professionals during career day

PELHAM – Students at Pelham Ridge Elementary School were immersed in learning about potential career paths during the school’s Career Day on Wednesday, May 1.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade had opportunities to talk to and interact with professionals in a variety of fields – from health and fitness, nursing, dentistry, photography, construction, journalism and much more.

Children in kindergarten through first grade participated in Careers on Wheels, which exposed them to career fields that use trucks and cars in their daily work. Students had a chance to get an up-close look at fire trucks, police cars, Alabama Power’s bucket truck, an ambulance and a television news broadcast van.

Students second through fifth grade rotated from classroom to classroom listening to short presentations from professionals and asking questions. School counselor Jordan Salter said learning about careers is a part of the curriculum for each grade level, but she wanted to present the material is a way that was fun.

“It’s good for our students to hear from local professionals and to have a chance to ask them questions,” Salter said. “They love getting to do something different, and they’d much rather talk to the people in these career fields rather than hear about it from their teachers.”

As students get older, Salter said there’s an increasing amount of pressure on them to figure out what career path they’d like to take.

“That can be hard if you don’t know what your options are,” she said. “Being a doctor or a lawyer is great, but we want them to know that there are a lot of other options out there. The younger we can start educating them about that, the better.”

Orange Theory fitness instructor CJ Foster said he had a great time talking with the students.

“There were a lot of thoughtful questions,” he said. “One thing I really liked is that I got to show them that it’s not all about being a professional athlete. When I was a kid I wanted to play professional basketball or football, but ultimately I was able to use my athleticism in a way that also helps others.”

Salter said a total of 24 professionals participated in Career Day and seven vehicles were on display during Careers on Wheels.

“We appreciate everyone who came and took the time invest in our kids,” Salter said.