EVANS CITY — Students in the middle school here won’t graduate for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t already thinking about their post-academic careers.
Hundreds of students at the Evans City Middle School attended a career fair Friday as nearly 30 professionals from a swath of different careers talked about their daily lives.
Those professionals came from large organizations like the Department of Homeland Security down to employers like the Zelienople Police Department.
The event also brought out a chef, a Realtor, an occupational therapist and a pastor among others.
Many of the students listened intently as the professionals talked about the challenges and expectations of their jobs.
One of those was Rod Smith from the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, who talked to the students about the necessary education needed to become a meteorologist.
He cautioned that anyone interested in the field should be strong in math, science and computer science.
Several students raised their hands when Smith asked if they wanted to be a meteorologist. However, many of those hands stayed up when Smith asked how many of them just wanted to be on television.
Smith said he’s convinced career fairs are valuable tools, especially for younger students who don’t have a concrete idea of what they want to do when they grow up.
“This is necessary so kids know what’s out there for them,” Smith said. “It gives them the opportunity to meet someone who’s already in the profession, someone who can tell them what kinds of options there are.”
Jacob Smeltzer, a sixth grader from Cranberry Township, said he enjoyed the presentation although he already has a good idea of what he wants do when he’s older.
“I wish there was a paleontologist here,” he said. “But at least the rest of the people here are interesting.”
Students filled out a form prior to the career fair listing their interests and hobbies. Faculty at the school then put those results into a computer, which created personalized schedules for each student.
Sean Adomaitis has spent the past 19 years in the Zelienople Police Department and graduated from Seneca Valley in 1991.
He talked about how long it takes to become a police officer and the skills needed to succeed in the profession.
There are plenty of things people don’t realize about police work such as the irregular hours and the toll they take on health and eating habits.
Adomaitis asked the class what they thought a police officer does on the job.
“You hide in places with a speed gun and catch people speeding,” said Hunter Fundy, a sixth grader.
While the class had a good laugh at the statement, Adomaitis said there’s much more involved in being a police officer.
Regardless of the students’ chosen profession, he relayed perhaps the most important message he could in terms of a career: find something you love doing.
“Why am I doing this job?” he asked. “Why am I here? Because to me, I’m doing the greatest job in the world.”