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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

School to hold biennial Career Day event

The school’s biennial Career Day event will be held on March 23, providing students with a chance to learn about more than 70 different careers. The event is mandatory for students of all grade levels.

Instead of a normal Monday schedule, class periods will be shortened and the day will be rearranged to include three 40-minute sessions of presentations between classes. Students will attend their first two periods and the three speaker sessions before lunch, then have the rest of their classes after lunch.

According to guidance secretary Bonnie Sheikh, the main coordinator for the event, Career Day is “a really great opportunity for kids to see what life could be beyond high school [and] college and to get first-hand accounts from the professionals in their particular areas — not [only] what they do, but also how they got [to where they are].”

Planning the event is a year-long process that starts at the beginning of the school year in August or September, said Sheikh. She gets help from a committee made up of parent volunteers, mainly from the College and Career Center (CCC). Together, they look through the list of speakers from previous years and contact each to see if they are willing to come back. For speakers who are unable to come back, Sheikh and her committee have to find other speakers for the sessions.

Sheikh also has the help of PTSO volunteers, who provide the breakfast for speakers; as well as additional volunteers for the day, who help to greet the speakers and take them to the classrooms.

On the students’ side, Sheikh sends out a survey on Naviance asking for students’ top three choices in careers to determine how much interest there is in each field.

“Getting all the kids to fill out the survey is probably my most difficult task,” Sheikh said. “I have to get them to fill out the survey because then I take all the information from Naviance and feed it into Aeries to schedule every kid, like running a little subschedule for one day for everyone.”

Sheikh assigns students who fail to fill out the survey on time to topics that seem to be popular every year.

“I can’t 100 percent guarantee that the scheduling will work out for all three sessions for all the kids, so if I have some conflict, I try to put them in what I see as an associated or closely related topic,” Sheikh said.

Fields that more than 100 students have signed up for include: chef/head cook, biologist/medical researcher, computer scientist, FBI agent, psychologist, software developer and video game designer. For topics in which less than 15 students sign up, Sheikh believes “it’s not worth the time of the speaker to come in” and assigns the students to a different, but closely related field.

New topics are added to Career Day if there is enough interest and a speaker is willing to present on the topic. This year’s Career Day will be the first to offer presentations about social media; a speaker from LinkedIn will talk about how to get your first job using the social media site.  

Sheikh hopes that by hearing the speakers, students will see beyond their life in high school.

“It seems long and far for [students], but there is a big broad world out there, and there might be opportunities or things that [they] never thought of before,” Sheikh said. “[It can be really rewarding if] someone can be sparked to find something they might be passionate about or something they never thought about but it really strikes them.”

She also hopes that the kids learn from hearing the personal stories of the speakers that “where you want to go and what you plan to do might not happen in life, [because] life is not always perfectly planned out.”

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