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WHS holds second-annual Career Day

Al Schumacher, who is a wildlife biologist, spoke during Woodbury High School's Career Day on Feb. 21. Schumacher works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the area of aviation. Schumacher brought a red tailed hawk to his presentation.

Woodbury High School students got a peek into what their futures could potentially hold last week during the school's second-annual Career Day.

On Feb. 21, students heard from three different speakers, for 15 minutes each, about their careers and the path they took to those careers. Nearly 60 speakers participated including: doctors, engineers, attorneys, a Realtor, a Web designer, accountants, military personnel, police officers, a chef, a pastor, a construction worker, a wildlife biologist and even the general manager of the St. Paul Saints baseball team.

The Career Day is a component of the school's College and Career Readiness program.

Leading up to last Thursday's event, students filled out a survey ranking their preferences in a variety of career areas.

The survey was in line with the Minnesota Department of Education's six career field areas - business management administration; human services; agriculture, food and natural resources; arts, communication and information systems; Engineering, manufacturing and technology; and health science technology.

"We asked students to rank their interest areas," WHS Assistant Principal Rob Bach said. ""The kids for the most part were funneled into a specific area that was in alignment with what they were interested in. Then we tried to find speakers that we kind of grouped up into those six areas."

Bach said many of the speakers also came from personal connections among teachers, parents and students.

Bach said the majority of students said they were interested in either the human services career area, engineering or the health sciences area.

"I tried to offer a variety of things in those areas because I knew there was a lot of interest there," he said.

In order to find speakers, Bach said he started by contacting the speakers who participated last year and then he reached out to the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce for volunteers.

WHS sophomore Rachel Lanz participated in two sessions last week - film and media production - said she really learned a lot during the Career Day.

"I wanted to see different careers and learn about something that I may not be necessarily interested in," she said. "It was great to see different options that they haven't thought of."

WHS sophomore Jonny Nguyen said he enjoyed learning about how many different careers there are, even in the same field.

"I don't know what I want to do yet," he said, "so, that's why this is so cool to have because you can learn about different careers that you may not have known of - I learned to be open with what you want to do in the future."

Bach said the biggest benefit to holding a career day for high school students is that it gets them thinking about the path they have to take to get the careers they want.

"The big thing is just to start the wheels rolling and get things turning in their minds," he said.

Bach said the career presentation posed different lessons for different grades however.

For freshman and sophomores, the presentation perhaps got them thinking about what types of courses they can take to get them on the right career path.

For juniors and seniors, the career day helped them start thinking about what college courses they have to take, or career path they have to take, in order to get their dream job.

"I don't know that students think about those things consciously when they're in the classroom," he said, "but an event like this gets them to think about them proactively."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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