Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

March 17, 2014

This path leads to career choices

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — The wheels are turning for a new Garvin County effort meant to help junior high students begin looking at career choices that might be a good fit for them someday.

At least that’s the idea of a program making its way here; designed to help students, soon to enter their high school years, begin the process of looking at careers.

It’s official name is Career Discovery Day.

The idea is to bring in professionals from a whole variety of careers and let them talk directly to the students.

Now Garvin County has joined the list of counties organizing a local career day as the one set for eighth grade students in schools throughout this county is May 1.

Allie Burgin, a member of the committee putting in the work for the event, says it was all triggered by a presentation last fall.

State Sen. Susan Paddack of Ada spoke to a group of residents here about a project initiated in Pontotoc County meant to get these students thinking about their futures and possible careers they could be interested in pursuing.

“Pontotoc (County) has been doing it for three years now and have been very successful,” Burgin said.

“Eighth grade really is a good time for these kids to start thinking about that,” he said about career choices.

“I wish someone had counseled me that way when I was in the eighth grade. I kind of floated through high school. I think most of the kids do that.”

Paddack’s talk came last October. The very next month a career day committee was formed here.

In fact, three committees came together with one focusing on the speakers and careers they will be talking about, another working with schools throughout Garvin County and a third one for the budget and fundraising.

“We’re going to bus these kids in from all over the county,” Burgin said.

“It will not be like a play day. It will be more like a working day for these kids.”

The event on May 1 will be held at the Mid-America Technology Center in Wayne.

It starts at 8:30 a.m. that morning as groups of students from all over Garvin County are scheduled to be led through with each one getting the opportunity to hear the speakers lined up for their top two career choices.

Speakers are expected to talk to groups of 15 to 30 kids in a classroom setting.

When the event is over committee members will be looking at ways to improve it in the future. The hope is area parents can help.

“I want to get the word out. It would be good to have parents buying into this,” Burgin said.

Some of Burgin’s thoughts are a little more big picture.

“Some of the problems faced in education by rural Oklahoma are being addressed by this initiative,” he added.

“These students have given little or no thought to where they want to start their careers or what that career might involve, until they received the handout of categories to fill out.

“These are the types of efforts needed to meet some of the needs for educators, parents and children in our rural communities.

“There are no set agendas, egos or politics involved. Every member on the committee is interested in one common goal of making this a meaningful event for these eighth grade students.”