York elementary school students learn about different careers

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comFebruary 28, 2014 

The gym at Harold C. Johnson Elementary school in York was bustling on Friday, but not with kids playing dodgeball or jumping rope. Instead children dressed as everything from football players to doctors walked around the room to meet professionals from different jobs to learn all about careers and life after school.

“They’re exploring their interests,” said guidance counselor Jennifer Green, who organized the school’s career fair, which is in its third year.

A mixture of parents and community members gave up their day to show the students what they do, from dental hygienists to firefighters. At one table, a representative from Kings Mountain State Park showed students how forest firefighters protect themselves from flames in a giant black tarp.

At the Duke Energy table, students spun a pencil sharpener as fast as they could to generate enough power to turn on a light bulb.

There were also tables from the York County Library, the Carolina Panthers, a hairstylist and more.

“It’s great exposure to things they wouldn’t normally get to talk about in class,” said Shelby Walling, the mother of two Harold C. Johnston students, who had a table with information about being a lawyer.

While “lawyer” may not have been the most glamorous job at Friday’s fair, Walling said she had a few students interested in what she did.

“I always have one or two (students) with their comments that surprise me,” she said. “They know things you don’t expect them to.”

One student, second-grader Claire Phillips, dressed up as an artist, because that’s what she wants to do for a living. She had an apron with paintbrushes and a pretend palette.

“I want to be an artist because I like art and I draw different things, not just like the normal trees and stuff,” she said.

At another table, York Comprehensive High School counselor Linda Wallace was telling the students about college.

“I’m talking to them about careers and what it takes to get there,” said Wallace, whose table was covered with college pennants.

Most students understand the concept of college and how different careers need different levels of education, but a few always surprise her with what they want to be when they grow up.

She had three little girls today who wanted to be rock stars, and one even showed off her dance moves.

“Hey, go for it,” she said of the girls’ aspirations.

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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