Ogden school resounding with oohs, aahs, cuckoos on career day

May 22 2013 - 12:46am

Images

Joseph Young answers questions about the helicopter he flew and landed Monday at Polk Elementary School in Ogden for career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Ken Jones talks about the truck his company modified for pulling competitions. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Joseph Young lands a helicopter at Polk Elementary School Monday, May 20, 2013, in Ogden, Utah. Young was visiting the school as part of the career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Samantha Garris (left) and Jessica Orton watch the gears of a clock operate at Polk Elementary School on Monday, May 20, 2013 in Ogden, Utah. The demonstration was part of the school's career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Joseph Young answers questions about the helicopter he flew and landed Monday at Polk Elementary School in Ogden for career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Ken Jones talks about the truck his company modified for pulling competitions. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Joseph Young lands a helicopter at Polk Elementary School Monday, May 20, 2013, in Ogden, Utah. Young was visiting the school as part of the career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Samantha Garris (left) and Jessica Orton watch the gears of a clock operate at Polk Elementary School on Monday, May 20, 2013 in Ogden, Utah. The demonstration was part of the school's career day. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- Preston Hadley and his friends wriggled excitedly at the chain-link fence leading to the playground at Polk Elementary School.

Preston pointed to the incoming helicopter, while other students cheered and screamed with excitement as it landed in the middle of the playground Monday.

The Whirlybird Helicopter Flight School capped a day filled with visits from several local professionals participating in the school's first career day.

"It was all just awesome," Preston said as he talked about the afternoon. "I can't think of any other way to describe it."

Principal Maridee Harrison said the idea for the career day came from teacher Nancy Blair.

Blair started Ogden School District's first school-enrichment program at the beginning of the school year, with students from each grade spending part of their day doing enriching activities and learning at a higher level.

Their participation is based on end-of-level test scores, classroom performance and teacher recommendations. Because not all students get a chance to participate in the program, Blair wanted to offer enriching activities for all students.

Blair asked the Parent Teacher Association to help meet that goal. PTA President Lori East sent home fliers asking parents to come speak about their careers. The fliers served as a catalyst for the career day committee to find local professionals to talk to the students.

Earlier in the month, various professionals spoke to the younger grades in an assembly setting, and on Monday, third- through sixth-graders spent the afternoon rotating among seven professions.

"We tried to find people that were different than just a doctor, dentist, lawyer," Harrison said. "We wanted them to think of more."

East talked with many in the community who do different kinds of jobs so the students can see they aren't limited to just a few choices.

"We wanted to open their minds a little," she said.

Students sat spellbound as clockmaker Brent Petersen showed them how a cuckoo clock works. The students quietly counted the "cuckoo's" and oohed and aahed when the clock's little doors opened and dancers appeared.

Students were equally impressed with two Marines -- one of whom just completed his degree in nuclear medicine technology. He was in hospital scrubs, while the other Marine was in dress blues.

"I never knew you could do different careers when you were in the military," Kage Braden said. "I've always wanted to be in the military."

Kage also learned a little about cooking and math from Kym Buttschardt's presentation on restaurant ownership and even ran up to the chalkboard to help Buttschardt complete a math problem to figure out a recipe.

Buttschardt told the students math is an important part of her job, but respect, work ethic and kindness are key to being a good employee and business owner.

"I'm going to own my own restaurant someday!" Oakley Galvez said as she skipped out of Buttschardt's presentation. "This is a cool day."

Many boys sat with mouths agape as Ken Jones showed students the inner workings of a diesel truck he and his Wild Diesel employees built by hand.

"No matter what you do, you have to stay in school," Jones told the kids.

Harrison was pleased with career day and hopes to expand it for students next year.

"We've got them thinking about what's next. Kids this age don't always think about that."

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