A dozen professionals took time out of their Monday morning routine to share their secrets to success with students at Three Rivers School during the school’s first Career Day event. From entrepreneurs to artists and contractors, the group imparted knowledge to the receptive and curious audience of all grade levels from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Mixed age groups of kids were formed and speakers chosen based upon interest level surveys, explained Isaac Warner, sixth grade teacher and an organizer of Career Day. Students were divided into the following career areas: Artistic, Social, Realistic, Investigative, Conventional, and Enterprising.
Hard work, perseverance, and self-confidence were the themes that united the speakers.
As welder and farrier Jason Hawes explained, “If you work hard and cultivate your skills, you will get the rewards and results.”
Christy Brigham, a biologist at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national Parks, emphasized responsibility in protecting wild places. Her commitment to safety in the park made an obvious impact, but her passion and positivity were even more apparent.
“I get paid to go where I would be anyway,” said Christy. “Everyday, I wake up and feel blessed to do what I do.”
John Elliott, owner of The Kaweah Commonwealth, weekly newspaper of Three Rivers for 21 years, said, “A job shouldn’t be drudgery. Find something you like doing. Find something you have a passion for. If you have to perform a menial job to make some extra money while you are still searching, go for it. However, the goal is to have a career that you love, not just a job.”
Many spoke about having the mindset of a student even after personal goals have been achieved. There is always more to learn.
As professional athlete and coach Ted Hiltel explained, “Use your coaches and mentors as a gift. Always hone your skills. Change is not easy, but it can be rewarding.”
Artist Nadi Spencer spoke about the inevitable fear and uncertainty in life and how to deal with it: “It’s okay to take risks in life. Look fear in the face and do it anyway!”
“One day, I told my fear that he could come with me, but that he had to keep quiet!” she continued.
Small-business owner Dennis Villavicencio touched on business ethics. As a lawyer, he had fun going after those trying to cheat the system and make an easy buck. As an entrepreneur, his mindset remains the same: “If you tell the truth and do the right thing, you never have to worry.”
The young minds of Three Rivers Union School absorbed every drop of knowledge and experience. They now know that whatever career they seek, they should work hard and keep learning.
TRUS was assisted in the coordination of Career Day by retired school counselor Vicki Warner-Huggins of Ridgway, Colo. Vicki has more than 20 years experience in facilitating career days for up to 1,200 students.
CAREER DAY PRESENTERS 2016
Emir Barajas – Carpenter
Christy Brigham – Biologist
Charlie Castro – Musician
John Elliott – Journalist
Jackie Harris-Groeber – Psychologist
Jason Hawes – Farrier
Ted Hiltel – Former professional athlete
Terri Hiltel – Speech therapist
Robert Groeber – Assistant superintendent (Visalia Unified School District)
Nadi Spencer – Artist
Danielle Temple – Biologist
Dennis Villavicencio – Business Owner / Lawyer