The stage was set before the school year started. This year, Principal Emilia Dominguez and Counselor Renee Guajardo were determined to do more to educate their nearly 350 students in kindergarten through fifth grade on college and career readiness. On the first day of school, a bulletin board introduced students to staff with details on each person’s colleges and universities, degrees and certifications, and explanations on what various degrees and certifications meant.
Mondays became “College Shirt” days for students and staff, and pennants of all teachers’ colleges were on display in the cafeteria. The school had never hosted a Career Day, but flyers and posters were distributed during open house to recruit parents, grandparents and community members to share their expertise with the students during a Spring Career Day. During February, Guajardo discussed career readiness during guidance lessons with all students. Story books on getting jobs were read and discussed with kinder through second grade, and computer career inventories were completed and discussed with third through fifth graders.
On Friday, March 7, in conjunction with Texas Public Schools Week and the Read Across America Seuss-a-bration, the campus was buzzing with the excitement of students and adults alike. Many students had come dressed to represent what they want to be when they grow up. Career Day had finally arrived. Career Day speakers—parents and grandparents as well as staff family members—arrived at the school library where they were treated to a light reception and goody boxes as they obtained their schedules and school maps. Guests were welcomed by the principal, counselor and Superintendent Dr. Ruben Corkill. Kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms were visited by three different guests. Students in the upper grades met as grade levels and listened to six speakers each. Speakers were given 15 minutes to speak to each of their scheduled groups then had at least five minutes to move to their next location. The library served as a holding room where guests were able to regroup, visit with other guests and enjoy snacks in between speaking sessions. Many commented on students’ interests and questions and the humorous challenge of keeping kindergarteners focused.
Career Day speakers included: Ruben Chapa (Tornado Oil Field); Pat Dougherty (Saxum Oil owner); Bruce Healy (USDA district conservationist); Nancy Moron (Beeville Municipal Court deputy clerk); James Curry (Aztec salesperson); Elizabeth Fuentes (Legacy Home Health Patient Advocate/Field Supervisor); Catherine McDowell (H-E-B bakery specialist); Tammy Casciato-Massengill (OATH executive director/grant writer); Tammy Hesseltine (dental hygienist Dr. Gary Blum); Manual Rosales (Exxon petroleum engineer); William Albaugh (U.S. Border Patrol supervisory agent); Amanda Rosales (family nurse practitioner); Davey Dockens (Flint Hills Resources plant engineer); Charles (Dave) Miller and H.E. Buddy (Beeville H-E-B store director and mascot); Brian Munson (Flint Hills Resources process chemist); Julie Garcia (Hair Dynamix hair stylist); Deborah Skoruppa (Community Action/Del Mar College family nurse practitioner/associate professor); and Charles Manning (attorney).
Speakers discussed their job duties, environment, required education and training, salary ranges and job outlooks in their respective fields. Most came armed with posters and models, and some gave actual demonstrations. Several speakers also brought free items to give away to students such as pens, stickers, books and sample items. Prior to Career Day, teachers were given sample questions that students could ask speakers.
At the end of the day, students, teachers and guests had all learned at least a little bit about each other. Judging from guests’ inquiries about “next year’s Career Day,” it’s a safe bet to say that S-T Elementary will be making this an annual event.
Anyone interested in being a part of next year’s S-T Elementary Career Day or who would like further information can contact Renee Guajardo, school counselor, at 361-287-3426, ext. 4001.