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Newtown High School students visited the school’s Lecture Hall on April 5 in rotating periods, either with participating classes or when free, to take part in a different sort of career day. NHS School to Career Counselor Peg Ragaini organized the day, and she said it was the first of its kind at NHS.
Ms Ragaini said Roadtrip Nation contacted the high school before the event and asked if NHS would pilot its new career day program, which is funded by AT&T.
According to Roadtrip Nation’s website, roadtripnation.com, it is an organization dedicated to helping people find career and life fulfillment. Its staffers journey in a fleet of RVs to “talk to the people who figured out how to build a career around their own unique combination of interests.” Some of those ventures are presented in the television program of the same name.
Signs were posted around the school ahead of the Career Day event, and Ms Ragaini said she expected roughly 600 students to attend the event throughout the day.
As students settled into the Lecture Hall for the start of one period, NHS guidance counselor Jeff Tolson moderated the event. He welcomed the students and explained that a video, prepared by Roadtrip Nation, would be played as an introduction before speakers would be interviewed by students about their careers. The video encouraged students to think about their interests and combine those interests into a potential career opportunity.
One part of the video encouraged students to listen to themselves over career experts. Another part of the video shared the words “this is not another career day” over the background of a highway.
According to Ms Ragaini, speakers for the day included Ben Toby, Tom Milano, Greg Martiska, Rob Miller, Brian Pisacich, Sarah Findley, Dan Salazar, Greg Van Antwerp, Evan Nichols, Kylar Barr, Brian Hartgraves, Abby Hill, and Scott Johnson. The group spoke about a range of careers, from being an engineer or speech language pathologist to being a registered nurse or an art director.
“I believe in their message,” said Ms Ragaini, when asked why she wanted to pilot the new career day format. She added that the message is that students should listen to themselves, and she said the format of the career day provides examples of how students can talk to adults to learn about different careers.
For one period, NHS senior Lucy Scarangella and freshman Emani DeSousa were selected to interview speakers. The two students asked questions such as how the speakers knew what they wanted to do for their careers and how they started working in their field.