Career Day Draws Interest at Columbia High School

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lisa Brickhouse Davis represented the radio station 99.1 The Sound at a Career Fair held at the Columbia High School on Feb. 24

Lisa Brickhouse Davis represented the radio station 99.1 The Sound at a Career Fair held at the Columbia High School on Feb. 24

Tyrrell County students got a glimpse of the “real world” during a Career Fair held in the Columbia High School gymnasium Feb. 24

Jennifer Westcott, guidance counselor at Columbia Middle School, organized the Career Fair with the help of Sarah Fox, guidance counselor at Columbia High School.

Description: middle school students were given the opportunity to visit with the participants and learn about various careers.  Middle school students were assigned questions to ask of the participants, such as “What school subjects are necessary to do your job?”

Many of the career fair participants brought items created as a result of their job or visual aides to demonstrate the tools needed to do their job. Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) brought various vehicles for the students to explore.

The middle school students will be participating in classroom lessons with Mrs. Jennifer Westcott, the school counselor to reflect on what they learned about careers. Some students from Columbia High School who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes were also invited to attend the Career Fair along with their CTE teachers.

Westcott noted that the 2014 Career Fair was the fourth Career Fair that she has hosted in the 14 years she has been in her position at CMS .

“Every three years, I host a Career Fair for the middle school so that each student has the opportunity to attend a career fair at some point during their middle school years. I think it’s important for students at this age to develop an awareness of possible career options for them as well as what type of education and training are involved in various careers. It also helps them see the connection between what they are currently learning in school and how they will use that knowledge to perform a particular job in the future,” said Westcott.

Career Fair Participants gave varied responses on how the day went and the feedback they got from the students.

Joshua Craig, Program and Marketing Coordinator at Pocosin Arts said he thoroughly enjoyed being asked to participate in Career Day.

“The curiosity of the students was infectious and they seemed to really get a kick out of the demonstrations that Andrew Dutcher made on the potter’s wheel.  While the standard questions they were provided needed tweaking to address the concerns one has an artist it was still fun to answer their questions.  I would absolutely do it again if asked and hope that the students got as much enjoyment out of it as we did,” said Craig.

Sandi Brickhouse Smith is the Safety and Quality Management System Coordinator at Cherry Farms Seed Company, located at 11500 Highway 94 South in Columbia.

She represented Cherry Farms Seed Company at the Career Fair.

“I was very excited to be part of the Career Day at Columbia Middle and High

School this year.  As a former student of Columbia Middle and High School, I

remember the excitement I had when I would hear my teachers say we were having

Career Day,” said Smith.

When she was a student she and her classmates would sign up for different careers they

were interested in and then go to a specific classroom to hear a five to 10 minute

presentation on that career.

“We were limited to only three or four career explorations for the day, but it was so much fun and very educational,” she said.

Smith noted how she was very impressed with the layout in the gym this year.

“With so many different career day participants students now have an opportunity to explore,” she said.

As students came to the Cherry Farm Seeds table to ask questions, Smith noted that some showed genuine interest.
“I saw many students get that “Oh really, I did not know we had a place like that in Tyrrell County…” look on their face,” she said.

Smith’s co-worker Rebecca Jones was at Career Day as well to answer questions and

represent the company.

“We both really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the students and would be glad to share information about our company again at another career day,” Smith said.

Wendy Modlin, represented the local Farm Service Agency Office.

“This is the second Career Day in which USDA has participated.  We will continue to support our local schools with information about what the Farm Service Agency does and how we help the community.  The children were not particularly interested in our career booth but the ones that did visit hopefully received information that made them inquisitive about what we do so they would consider being a part of the FSA team in years to come,” Modlin said.

Deputy Michael Harris represented the Dare County Sheriff’s Office alongside Deputy David Bryan.

“I think the children were very interested in what both deputy Bryan and I did,” he said.

Harris pointed out how the children had questions about what the legal tint laws were, how the tint meter as well as the portable breath testing  instrument worked and functioned.

The students also liked the different tools and demonstrations Deputy Bryan had regarding finger prints and the investigative processes.

“They were all given a sheet to ask questions and the ones which didn’t follow the sheet and didn’t ask the given questions were the best students because it allowed the children to speak freely,” said Harris.

Harris mentioned that he would come back to another career fair at the school.

Harris and Bryan were going to travel to a similar event soon in Kill Devil Hills.

Douglas Jackson manned a table for the Elizabeth City State University Department of Music.

“The career day was good and well organized.  It is always a good idea to have students as early in age as possible meet and question working professionals.  This gives them some idea and reference points on how important it is to be well educated and employable.  I would be happy to participate again,’’ he said.

Lee Scripture represented the Eastern 4-H and Environmental Education Center.

Scripture is the 4-H Center Director.

“As a member of the Tyrrell County Board of Education and an employer, it was great to see all the community agencies, businesses, and individuals come out to support the career fair. The students that attended were eager to learn and asked great questions,” said Scripture.

Scripture explained that the opportunity to show children career possibilities and options was a privilege.

“I hope we will be able to continue this program.  I believe students with a vision and purpose will be driven and successful in all they do. I was glad to be able to participate and thank all those who participated and organized the event,” said Scripture.

Lisa Brickhouse Davis represented the radio station The Sound 99.1 WVOD.

WVOD, is a commercial radio station licensed to Manteo, North Carolina serving the Outer Banks of North Carolina which includes Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. WVOD broadcasts at 50,000 watts at 99.1 FM and is formatted as an AAA or Adult Album Alternative music station.

Davis said she thought the Career Day ran very well.

“I appreciate Mrs. Westcott and Faculty for inviting me, as it was quite an honor,” she said.

The students were interested and curious about Davis’ career.

“A few asked if I make people famous. I’m glad they had prepared questions,” she said.

Davis had a couple of recommendations to the students.

“Presence.  They have to make a presence for themselves.  I remember those awkward school years but the students need to realize how important their body language and people skills and manners are. They spoke and asked the questions with heads down and no eye contact sometimes,’” Davis said.

Davis noted that there were some that introduced themselves, made eye contact, stood upright, and spoke very clearly.

“All of these traits are obviously a must in my field,” she said.

Overall, Davis explained that she had a great time observing the students and their interactions with the business community leaders as well as the faculty and staff.

“I would love to be apart of it again.  There were a couple of students that really made a great impression on me.  I have spoken very highly of them and my experience at the Career Day to many people.  I appreciate the opportunity to get out and be a part of a great event,” she said.

The agencies or businesses that participated in the career fair included: The Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, The NCDOT Maintenance Department, The NCDOT Engineering Department,   Washington County Emergency Medical Services, Open Arms Child Care,  The North Carolina Forestry Service, Tyrrell County Prison Work Farm, Dental Hygienist from Outer Banks Dentistry, Graphic Designer from B.F. Goodbrush, Cosmetologist/Owner from The Cuttin ’ Up Salon, Forensic Investigator and Deputy Sheriff from The Dare County Sheriff’s Department, a children’s book author,  Cahoon & Kasten Architects, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Tyrrell County Schools Computer Technology Department, The United States Army, The United States Coast Guard, Tyrrell County Department of Social Services, State Employees’ Credit Union, Elizabeth City State University Department of Music, East Carolina Radio Group, WITN-TV Meteorologist, The Vernon G. James Research & Extension Center, Horticultural Science Department, Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Conference Center, Laboratory Director from Martin General Hospital, Registered Nurse from The Columbia Medical Center, Northeastern Workforce Development Board, Pocosin Arts, Cherry Farms Seed Company, Inc. , Comstock Electric, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, The Sound 99.1 WVOD,  The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency and The Scuppernong Reminder, Journalism and Marketing Departments.