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Boeckman Middle School holds Career Day event

State Rep. Pat Garofalo visited with BMS students Dylan Johnson, Leo Illetschko and Alex Plys at last week's Career Day.

With a fire truck, a police car, an ambulance and one of the Dakota County Mutual Aid Assistance Group armored trucks out front, it's little wonder a few parents called Boeckman Middle School to make sure everything was all right Thursday afternoon.

But it was. In fact, all of those emergency vehicles were out front for a good purpose - to get eighth grade students thinking about their futures. See, the vehicles were all driven there by firefighters, police officers and EMTs. And those folks were inside the school, sharing information on why they chose to follow those careers.

On Thursday, BMS hosted a Career Day event for eighth graders, so they could start asking questions and thinking about their own career paths as they head into high school and the years afterward.

"The whole day is intended to get kids thinking about the transition from middle school to high school, high school to college, and from college to careers," eighth grade teacher Pete Fleenor said.

Middle school counselors work with eighth graders to get them ready for high school, Fleenor said. Part of that preparation comes in the form of helping students choose the classes that are right for them, and for their futures. To an eighth grader, a career may seem far off, but the coming years are important in their development, he said.

A few counselors from the high school were also at Career Day so students could talk to them about the transitions they will face in the next year.

"The focus was that everything changes for them in the next year, and they don't realize that. Everything changes at the high school," Fleenor said.

But there's more to getting older and planning for the future. With that in mind, Fleenor invited representatives from Pellicci Ace Hardware and Subway to come talk to kids about what they require of kids who they hire for part-time, after school jobs. That way, students could learn about things like scheduling and availability, rate of pay, and so on.

Recognizing that some students will choose to go to college, Fleenor invited a couple of universities to participate in Career Day. He invited those folks because students have questions about college prep, what classes to take and how much work is involved in earning a college degree. But also knowing that college isn't for everyone, Fleenor also had representatives from the US Navy and Army who were on hand to talk about life in the military.

Finally, Career Day featured about 20 different parents and area professionals who were there to talk about their careers. Mayor Todd Larson and State Rep. Pat Garofalo were on hand to give kids information on local and state politics, too.

The eighth graders will start registering for high school classes in January.

"In January, when they do scheduling for the high school, we'll revisit some of these career lessons. We'll talk to the kids about how much schooling they're going to need and things like that. It's a little bit of a reality check, and we do talk about it," Fleenor said. "It's not just a one-day event."

In total, Fleenor had 27 tables set up for the Career Day. This is the second time BMS has held a Career Day.

"This is something I would like to do, to kind of make it a keystone event for the eighth graders. I would like to get the community involved more and make it better and more meaningful," he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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