Students exposed to different career options


JASPER — Students at Fifth Street Elementary got a head start on career education Friday.

The school, which teaches kindergarten through second grade, held their annual Whisker Walk and paired the event with visits from local professionals to widen the students’ knowledge of available careers.

“They know firefighters, police officers and teachers,” said Principal Ryan Erny. “But what else is out there?”

Throughout the morning, students rotated through stations that included the half-hour Whisker Walk and presentations from three professionals.

The Whisker Walk got kids out on the track walking for 30 minutes and taught them about wellness practices, such as stretching before and after exercise. The Whisker Walk is part of the school’s programming from the Upgrade grant from the Welborn Baptist Foundation. The grants award elementary and middle schools $15,000 a year for three years for health initiatives in the schools and the communities they serve.

Each grade level heard about three different careers. Second-graders heard from representatives of Old National Bank, Jasper Engines and Transmissions and the City of Jasper.

First-graders heard from representatives of Meyer Distributing and Servus!

Conservation Officer Jon Watkins also presented four-wheeler safety to the first-graders using Safety Sam, a robotic ATV rider about the size of elementary school students.

“I think Safety Sam is the new Iron Man because he’s got all this good armor on,” Watson said before explaining every piece of equipment.

Kindergartners heard about UPS and health occupations.

“I learned a UPS truck is brown so not to show dirt,” kindergartner Gabriel Armstrong said.

He liked the UPS presentation, but said he still wants to be a police officer when he grows up.

Erny said the career day will likely become an annual event to expose students to different kinds of careers. That way, when they get to middle and high school, they’ll be familiar with career paths and can better choose their classes and prepare for life after graduation.

“Not every kid needs to go to college,” Erny said. “There are all kinds of trades that need to be filled.”

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