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A group of 33 professionals share experiences with students at career day

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Laurie Smallwood from the Sandy Fire Department explains equipment to a group of eager middle schoolers. Rather than plan multiple individual field trips, Cedar Ridge Middle School hosted 33 professionals from around the Sandy area on Friday, May 12, for its third career day.

The professionals came from all different walks of life and spoke to four different sessions of students about their chosen occupations and how they got to where they are.

"Our primary goal is to give our kids exposure to a variety of careers," Principal Nicole Johnston explained. "It would have been cool to have this access (when I was young)."

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Jeannine Hokanson raffled off a miniature robot kit in her presentation on computer technology. Eighth-grader Luke Thompson was the lucky winner.When she was attending middle school, Johnston aspired to be the next Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters.

"I was convinced when I was this age that I was going to be a journalist, a broadcast journalist, specifically," she said.

Representing her once dream field on Friday were Spencer Raymond from Oregon Public Radio and movie critic and journalist Gary Wolcott.

Besides those professions which typically require a four-year degree, Johnston said she also tried to incorporate trades into the offered sessions, including pipe fitters, carpenters, loggers and more.

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Christine Smith talks about her experience with a room of aspiring architects. Helicopter pilot Rey Madrid, father of eighth-grader Ellis Madrid, gave a talk at the event. Ellis said his father's session was probably his favorite, with the electricians coming in at a close second.

He aspires in the long run to be a gunsmith, but flying has always appealed to him as well.

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Students cram into the AMR emergency ambulance to hear Howard Corbett go over operating procedures.
"I thought I might be a helicopter pilot," Ellis explained. "You feel like you're floating. When we lived in Alaska, my dad would take us out. (There's) that feeling of almost having no weight. It was amazing the scenery (we saw)."

Eighth-grader Mayzee Dalton hopes to use her athletic background and interest in aiding others to be a physical therapist or an occupational therapist like presenter Dawn Wendell.

"The fact that they get to help people and work with athletes (appeals to me)," Dalton said. "I'm an athlete myself, so connecting the two is pretty cool."

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Michael Allen Harrison discusses the complexity of being a professional musician.Other students, like eighth-grader Brenda Silva, still don't have a definite idea of what they want to do, but that didn't stop them from enjoying the day — and of course they still have plenty of time to explore different careers. Silva noted that her favorite session was with Howard Corbett from American Medical Response, in his emergency ambulance.

"He told us a lot of stories and a lot of background," she said, adding she plans to attend college and research what she wants to do as a career after she graduates high school. POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - A group of 33 presenters visited Cedar Ridge Middle School for career day.

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