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Trying out careers for the day at WHS

Woodbury High School students heard from a number of speakers during the school’s annual Career Day, including Michael Mullin, a yoga instructor, (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)1 / 2
Woodbury Public Safety Chief Lee Vague was among the Career Day presenters at WHS.2 / 2

For many students, the career that they want changes many times during their lifetime – what they wanted to be in kindergarten may not be what they want when they are a high school freshman.

In fact, what they want as a high school freshman may not be what they want as a senior.

Woodbury High School students were introduced to a variety of potential career options, some that they may not have ever thought of, during the school’s annual Career Day on Feb. 20.

The annual event 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.

Thursday’s Career Day featured more than 60 speakers in such career areas as: medicine, opera, seminary, personal trainer, yoga, police enforcement, physical therapy, landscaping, theater, real estate and accounting.

During Career Day presentations, speakers discussed different topics including education needed, day-to-day activities and misconceptions over jobs.

One of the speakers was Lee Vague, chief for the Woodbury Public Safety Department, who discussed his path to public safety.

“I was fairly convinced that I wanted to go into business,” he said. “What I really wanted was to do different things every day.”

Vague started his career as a police officer on the streets before becoming chief.

“It’s an entirely different gig,” he said.

In terms of what types of people go into public safety, Vague said they have to be dedicated to making a difference.

“It’s not about the money,” he said, “it’s about being around people and helping people. It’s a job where your heart has to be in the right place.”

Another speaker last week was Greg Cooper, a pastor from Woodbury Baptist Church.

Cooper discussed how his job includes many different facets – preaching, teaching classes and worship – but all areas include the same goal.

“What I do as a pastor is bring hope to people,” he said.

Michael Mullin, a yoga instructor, discussed with students the benefits of yoga, the business practices and what kind of money they can make.

“Yoga itself means union,” he said, “union with your higher power and union with yourself.”

In terms of money, Mullin said he never worried about where his paychecks were coming from, but being a yoga instructor isn’t a lucrative career.

“You don’t get wealthy,” he said. “It’s more about helping people.”

However, Mullin said teaching yoga has great flexibility, which allows for other jobs.

“It’s a great way to supplement your income,” he said. 

Vague said working as a police officer, or any community service field, is ideal for anyone who likes working with people and making a difference.

A few things to know though, Vague said, are that you have to be able to work with a variety of different people and you have to treat all of those people with respect.

Mullin told students that competition is something that always needs to be considered when you own a small business because there’s always the shadow of the big franchise.

“It’s the David and Goliath story,” he said.

Competition isn’t the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs though, Mullin said.

“The things that will hold you back are fears,” he said. “But, with passion and lack of fear you can do anything.”

Vague told students he hopes everyone finds what they love.

“Keep your mind open, your eyes open,” he said, “because I hope you can all say you like work.”

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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