I am very happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the LMMHS eighth grade team and our Lenox Business Partners on the recent Career Learning Project.
On the morning of January 12, more than 30 professionals representing a wide spectrum of jobs and careers came to the LMMHS cafeteria to be interviewed by our eighth grade students. Their questions related to the nature of the visitor’s work, the ups and downs of the job, and the training and preparation required to do the job. Other questions were added by students during the visit reflecting their interests. The purpose of the activity was not to get students to select a career path, but to broaden awareness among students about the world of work. It is hoped that through meeting a varied range of working people, students could begin to consider possible roles in their own future.
I am so very proud of our eighth grade students who presented and conducted themselves as engaged young adults. They represented our school exceptionally. Listening to student comments after the activity, I was thrilled to hear that meeting these professionals had an impact -and that a lot was learned about careers and life in the working world.
A significant amount of preparation went into the project before the arrival of our professional visitors. Eighth grade teachers conducted several mini-lessons focused on careers and ‘career clusters’ and middle school guidance counselor, Dave Hilfinger conducted a brief career cluster screening to give students an idea of how their preferences and aptitudes might guide them in a career choice. Eighth grade teachers then matched students with four visiting professionals with care taken to match students with careers that may interest them and careers that they knew nothing about.
I would like to thank the eighth grade team, especially team leader Casey Lennon, for their efforts on this successful learning activity. Thank you to Jeff Ano, Anna VanLingen and Tara Romeo for their event day contributions. I wish to thank our Lenox Business Partners for their participation and support of the event and a special thank you to my assistant Amy Novitsky for pulling together many of the essential logistical details. Of course, I would also like to thank and recognize our professional visitors who made the morning a valuable and enjoyable learning experience:
Roberto Laurens, High Lawn Farms; Jorge Guarin and Willow Cohn, Center for Eco Technology; Jen Hoffman and Mindi Morin, General Manager, Canyon Ranch; Amy Goodrich, HR, Kimball Farms; Jake Dabrowski and Tess Sorrentino, Adams Community Bank; Bridget Albano, Lee Bank; Andrew DeVries, Sculptor and Patricia Purdy Gallery Owner; Heather Herman, Editor, Lenox Living Magazine; Ann LaBier, Your Color Connection; Jonathan Croy, Shakespeare and Company; Dana Johnson, Compuworks; Dave Isby, WUPE FM; Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle; Connor Meehan, Musician; Cheryl Weider, Nursing, Kimball Farms; Hannah Keator LICSW, Therapist; Phillip Smits, MA Environmental Police; Jeannie Riley-Ortega, Hair and Makeup Artist, Canyon Ranch; Anita Grinivecs, Nutritionist, Canyon Ranch; Gwen Miller, Town Planner, Town of Lenox; Abigail Lemanski, Pittsfield Fire Department; Pam Codey, Lenox Public Schools; Nick Parsenios, Attorney; Mick Tullock, Onyx Specialty Papers; Nick Dargi and Fred Knight, General Dynamics; Andrea Wagner, Berkshire Sterile Manuafacturing; Jennifer Farrelly, Pilot, Jet Blue and USAF (retired); Don Richardson, United Parcel Service; Fred Perkett, Pignatelli Electric; Diego Gutierrez, Housatonic Architectural Services; and Christine Mauro, MD.