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Alder Elementary students see careers in action

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Career day continues school's commitment to a 'culture of college and career.'

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - A Portland firefighter speaks to students at Alder Elmentary School about fire safety and what takes place in her job.

Elementary school students are often asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Students at Alder Elementary got a taste of what's possible at a busy career day last week.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - A Starbucks representative not only talked about careers at the coffee giant, but brought along some hot chocolate to share. Dozens of people who work in vastly different professions, from barista to artist to firefighter, all visited Alder to tell students about what they do all day and what kind of preparation it takes to ply their particular trade.

Career day is one of the programs put on by Alder's community partner the nonprofit organization "I Have A Dream." Alder became the first "dreamer" school in the U.S. in 2010. The group works to help students achieve in school, college and career.

This fourth-annual career day continues the dreamer school's commitment to create a "culture of college and career." Together with social and academic support services and mentoring, the goal is to improve high school graduation rates to 100 percent for Alder's students, with 80 percent earning a college degree or post-high school certificate.

So many of the 500 students at Alder are low-income that the school does not count them, but gives free lunch to all students.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Alder student gets to know a K9 officer as his partner, as Multnomah County Sheriff's deputy looks on. Local businesses and agencies are enthusiastic about participating in the day.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - A Zumba instructor gets students up and moving as they dance their way around the classroom.

"Legacy Mount Hood is so pleased to be a corporate partner with 'I Have a Dream' Oregon and to have our colleagues participate in Career Day," said Julie Reed, a Legacy community and public relations consultant. "We always look forward to sharing health care-related careers in science and technology, in emergency response and in healthy nutrition with the students." CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Students learn about brushing habits from dental hygienists.