Written by Sadie Link and Megan Chow
This year’s annual Career Day at Pierrepont School was another success. Speakers this year included Dr. McGowan, Dean of Education at Felician University; Mr. Cunningham. NCIS Naval criminal investigative service (special agent); and Dr. Margarita M, pharmacist at Walgreens Pharmacy of Carlstadt. This annual school event is important for sixth-grade students to participate in as they start to consider possible professions for the future. This year, the R-Hi staff had the opportunity to visit Pierrepont School Career Day and speak to some presenters about their own professions and to follow up after their presentations to the students.
The sixth-grade students at Pierrepont school were thrilled to see Mr. Ersalesi, a teacher at Rutherford High School, talking about his second job as a 1010 WINS news anchor. Mr. Ersalesi was accompanied by his son, Henry Ersalesi, as he talked to the students. The students learned about what it is like to be on the radio and reporting the news. The students were enthralled to learn about the radio and the media business. Mr. Ersalesi explained the different platforms that the media have been moving to, such as YouTube, and what the future of news reporting can and will look like. He ended his session with a lesson about writing/English and how he needs to write articles everyday. The students were very interested in what Mr. Ersalesi was saying and learned how they may apply their skills from English class to a possible career in media.
At her session, Dr. Stephanie McGowan, Dean of Education at Felician University, talked to the students about the hard work that was required of her to become the Dean of Education. She said that is took her 25 years to be the Dean, which she spent teaching sixth grade. Throughout her presentation, Dr. McGowan asked for a lot of participation and answered the questions the students had about teaching or being the Dean of Education. Finally, she concluded her presentation by saying that she was able to decide that teaching was the career for her because she was inspired by the teachers she had in school, and she encouraged the Pierrepont students to listen to their teachers to seek inspiration. When asked for her final thoughts on the presentation, she told us, “It was refreshing to hear that the students are all hoping to attend college in the future and that most of them want to become teachers as well.” McGowan went on to mention her favorite part of her profession: working with students and promoting education. “Even though I am a Dean, I still teach and that’s what I love to do. I started out as a teacher before working to become a Dean.”
Mr. Jesse Newman, a visual effects artist, presented a collection of his work to a group of students in the school gymnasium. He spoke about the creative and, at times, difficult processes that go into making his visual effects. “I showed the students this video project where my customer asked for a galaxy to turn into a hurricane, which sounds very easy when you say it, but it takes a lot of work and creativity to find how to edit and fit two completely different images and transition between them,” he said. When asked what he enjoys the most about his career, he replied, “I love my job because it’s constantly evolving and it’s creatively stimulating. I always face, but overcome, creative challenges.” Although it was his first time presenting at Pierrepont, Newman has experience giving presentations about his job at different events. He continued to speak to us about his thoughts on the school’s Career Day: “I think it’s great and important to have this career day for these young students because at this age, many kids are only exposed to or might only think there are four career paths they could go into: lawyer, doctor, teacher or police officer. I didn’t even know this was a possible career for me until I was in my senior year in college. So, it’s good for students to know early on that there are more professions in the workforce that they can go into.”
Mr. Luis Tomlinson, accompanied by student host, Ariana Tomlinson, talked to the students about his job in the cyber crimes unit. The students were impressed when he mentioned all of the certifications that he needed to work in this prestigious unit. He explained to the students that only 1% of the population has the certification that he and his co-workers have. He also talked about the different tasks he does as a investigator for cyber crimes and the different types of jobs that are in this unit. The students had the opportunity to FaceTime Mr. Tomlinson’s boss where they got a tour of the unit. His boss also talked to them about the different jobs that they have available for those looking to work in the cyber crimes unit, and the students even talked to some of these employees. The students were very impressed by all the different crimes that the cyber unit is responsible for investigating.
Anastasia Bezugla, with her student host Leonardo Saraceni, talked about her job at the Hilton Hotels as a sales manager. She started her presentation teaching the students about the different types of hotels. In a PowerPoint-style presentation, she showed the students how to find a hotel based on their reason for needing the hotel, such as business or vacation travel. She also taught the students about the star ratings and what they actually mean. When asked, the students said that they think that having a “one star” rating meant that the hotel was horrible, but Bezugla said that this is a common misconception. She said that having a one star meant that the hotel does not include breakfast and does not always mean that the hotel was necessarily poor in service.
One of the most popular sessions was that of Mr. Thomas Cunningham who works in NCIS – the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The students were particularly interested in the types of firearms that Mr. Cunningham carried around throughout the day. He also talked about how everyone working as a special agent works under the title “criminal investigator,” but everyone has a specialty. Mr. Cunningham talked with passion about his job and the different responsibilities he has. The students were mesmerized by the type of authority he has as a criminal investigator. The students asked a lot of questions that showed how interested they were in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The guidance counselor at Pierrepont School and organizer of the event, Mr. Stavros Siskas, talked about how he was able to set up Career Day. He said that he first emailed parents asking who would be interested in presenting. He mentioned that 90% of the presenters were parents of the students at Pierrepont. He tried to pick parents whose jobs may not be as well known to the students but would still be of interest. He said that this is crucial so students learn that there are many different types of jobs that they can have based on their different interests. Every year the presenters change and the students of Pierrepont School can look forward to the new panel of presenters Mr. Siskas has planned for next year!