As part of our 2018 graduation week coverage and the close of the school year, we wanted to bring you some stories that focus on the many ways Upper Perk prepares students for their lives after graduation, whether they pursue college or trade school, a career in the military or jump right into the workforce. Career preparation is perhaps more important than ever, as today’s students will be expected to lead the way and pursue careers in an ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world.
As we near graduation, it’s true that much of the focus is on the departing Class of 2018 as they embark on new adventures, heading into further education, jumping into careers and serving in the military, among other things. However, UPSD begins preparing our students for life after Upper Perk much earlier in their student careers.
One example of early career prep is the Middle School Career Day held for the past five years, and organized by guidance counselor Mrs. Theresa Schlatterer.
Ahead of the actual Career Day, which was held on May 11 this year, Mrs. Schlatterer teaches a lesson to all 8th grade students about careers and post-secondary education options. Students also take an online interest inventory through PACareerZone.org to find out more about what types of careers match their personality and strengths.
On May 11, students were divided into two groups. One group went to the gym to explore an open-format career fair, while the other group listened to a presentation from high school students and Penn State admission counselors. After a period of time, the groups had the opportunity to switch places.
During the career fair portion of the day, students completed a scavenger hunt in which they had to speak to at least nine professionals and ask them specific questions. Mrs. Schlatterer incorporated the scavenger hunt component to encourage students to engage with the professionals.
This year, professionals in attendance at the career fair included UPSD parents, school board members and other local businesspeople. Some of their professions included park ranger, nurse practitioner, firefighter, biomedical engineer, interior decorator, veterinarian, attorney, realtor, dance instructor, crisis worker, baker, farmer, accountant and more.
Following Career Day, students wrote a professional letter to thank the individuals who attended the career fair.
“Too often students get overwhelmed and frustrated with the everyday routine of school and start to lose focus about why education is so important,” said Mrs. Schlatterer. “Career Day breaks that routine and allows students to interact with professionals they might never of had the opportunity to learn from.”
Check out our photo gallery from the middle school career fair below: