Marion sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students got a break from normal classes on Feb. 26 to listen to, interact, and learn from an assortment of 19 guest speakers who visited the middle school to talk about their professions.
“The idea was to expose our students to a variety of career paths so that they can become more aware of what is out there,” counselor Kris Burkholder said.
The event started in the performing arts center with a presentation given by KWCH multimedia reporter Sia Nyorkor.She showed clips of stories she had covered, talked about her responsibilities, and informed students of character traits that reporters tend to have, such as being a good listener and inquisitiveness.
“Sometimes when I am working on a story, people are really nice to me and thank me for the coverage,” Nyorkor said. “But sometimes they get angry at me because they think reporters take sides. What the angry people fail to remember is that I am just reporting different perspectives or sides of the story.”
After Nyorkor’s presentation, students divided into small groups and attended three 30-minute sessions with different guest speakers.
Students were given a list of 18 careers prior to the event and asked to rate them in order of their preference.
“All the kids got to see their first and second choices and about 75 percent of the students got to see their first choice for the third speaker,” Burkholder said. “Most of our speakers were alumni from the area.”
Speakers spread throughout nearly every classroom in the middle school. Teachers helped direct students to the correct rooms between sessions.
Freelance artist Amanda (Ewert) Dameron spoke to students about how her love of art and design led her to screen-printing T-shirts and creating wearable pins.
“I get e-mails from all over the world from people who want work done,” Dameron said. “The best thing for me is that you get to see people wearing your art,” .
Chris Sprowls spoke about the importance of math in construction.
“The Pythagorean theorem is one of the most important math theories, because it helps you square up corners,” he said. “When I was your age I used to wonder what I would ever use math for, but I use it every day.”
Local rancher Mark Harms spoke to students about the intricacies of beef production. He used a slideshow, industry literature, and an insemination vial to help illustrate the process by which he sells bulls and ships embryos.
“This is a field for those interested in genetics and reproduction,” he said.
Karson Craig also spoke to students about her job.
“Physical therapists are movement experts,” she said. “We evaluate a patient’s movement dysfunction and try to resolve or improve that dysfunction.”
In another room, attorney Brian Bina talked law.
“I usually work a 10-hour day and spend about 60-percent of my time on the phone,” he told students. “But when you like what you’re doing, your days fly by.”
Students also heard about future jobs and what employers generally look for in an good employee.