From formulating life-saving medicine, to broadcasting vital storm warnings, to refining the smiles of adolescents, to comforting cats and dogs with kisses, the sixth graders at Fairview Elementary were encouraged to imagine all kinds of possibilities when it comes to their future careers. The children were excited and inspired by six different Mountaintop professionals, some Fairview parents, as they shared tales of their trades during American Education Week.
The PTA event included parents volunteering to read favorite books to their children and their classmates, and a “Dress as Your Future Career” day, where little teachers, doctors, firemen, and engineers were seen walking the halls of Fairview. Special for the oldest class in the school, the sixth grade, speakers from Mountaintop businesses told of their jobs and the students were more than receptive, raising their hands to ask questions numerous times.
When asked what they want to be when they grow up, the students shot their hands up, quick and confident with their varied answers, from police officer and forensic scientist to chemist and paleontologist. In making a career choice, one of their favorite speakers, Meteorologist Tom Clark, told the students, “Do what makes you happy and what you have a talent for. Do something that makes you want to go to work every day.”
The wide-eyed children took in all of Clark’s advice, as well as the guidance passed to them from the other speakers –Dr. William Ziegler, orthodontist; Sargent Dennis Monk and Officer Rachel DeLuca, Fairview Police; Dr. Tiffany Wagner, veterinarian; Dr. Erin Savner, pharmacist; and David Wychock, real estate broker.
Dr. William Ziegler, who treats some of the sixth graders at his orthodontist office, always has a good rapport with his young patients and found speaking to the entire class just as easy. After telling the children about the basics of orthodontics and the schooling required to specialize in that area, he kept the kids interested by circulating different props for them to touch, from model teeth to dental tools.
When explaining how braces move teeth into a straight line, Dr. Ziegler lined up three nervously smiling sixth graders and pretended they were the teeth. In demonstrating how a special glue bonds braces, he squeezed some of the ointment onto volunteers’ fingertips and then let student Donte Fanelli shine a special light on his friends’ hands to harden the glue.
Sergeant Dennis Monk and Officer Rachel DeLuca, of the Fairview Police Department, gave the students examples of their daily duties before fielding many questions. Each day, Monk explained, he and fellow officers respond to calls that cover a variety of incidents, from car accidents to domestics, which he told the students means “family fights.” With each incident, paperwork is involved, he said, which is now done on computer rather than paper. Many of the students leaned forward with interest as Monk and DeLuca displayed the tools that they carry each day on their utility belts, gear that adds up to 22 pounds. The equipment included handguns, extra magazines, taser guns, handcuffs, radios, and latex gloves.
Julia Sinavage asked DeLuca what it’s like to be a female officer and if she’s ever been treated differently. DeLuca replied that, as a female, she tries to get along with males the same as Julia might get along with boys in