Career Day Preview

From Benjamin’s perspective, it is never to early to start preparing for college and beyond. The Benjamin Middle School allows this to happen. On December 1, 2017, all middle school students will have the opportunity to practice preparing for entering college and the work force.

Sixth graders will participate in BizTown, which is a mock town where everyone is assigned  a job to learn about a free-market economy and financial responsibility.  Seventh graders have the chance to learn all about their colleges to which they are assigned. They also get interviewed by TBS seniors who act as college admission representatives. Eighth graders get to experience something similar to the seventh graders as they are interviewed by representatives of actual companies.

I don’t know of any middle school that offers this program,” said Director of Careers/Summer Institute Mrs. Loretta Corey. “I have created it for TBS, and [I] update it every year by taking workshops and meeting with faculty from UCF (University of Central Florida), where I am on the Foundation Board, School of Education Council, and New Parent Committee.”

Career Day serves as an opportunity for kids to understand what it is like to get interviewed or to have a job.

“Career Day is important because it gives the students the opportunity to experience what it’s like to interview for new jobs, and [it is important] for schools to help them find the career choice that’s the best for them,” said Middle School physical education instructor physical education instructor and math teacher Ms. Erica Lazarus. Lazarus helped set up BizTown training for the sixth graders this year, taking over for retired math teacher Mr. Edward Chaplin.

To prepare for BizTown sixth graders rotated from teacher to teacher on Monday, November 27 to learn about different aspects of the day which include learning about the basics of BizTown, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how a free-market economy works, how to balance a checkbook, and how to write and cash in checks.

In BizTown, everyone has a job, whether it’s working at McDonald’s, the town bank, Publix, the animal adoption center, or or the health and wellness clinic. Some people are CEOs of companies, and some people are CFOs and common laborers. When having roles like that, bigger opportunities unfold, and more responsibility is needed. Sixth graders can learn how to use checkbooks, manage their own money, etc. Each business team works together to pay off their business loans from the town bank.

“The benefit of BizTown for sixth grade is [that] it allows [the sixth graders] the opportunity to see what it’s like to live in the real world, including things from learning how to work, how to work together with other people, [and] to earn money. So then, they can use the money to help them support themselves and to buy things that they would enjoy using in life,” said Lazarus.

Unlike sixth grade, seventh graders participate in mock interviews for admission into a college to which they have been assigned. Seventh graders have to research their assigned colleges so they are prepared for their interviews. The interviews are conducted by TBS seniors. Some of these colleges include the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Harvard University, etc. These Ivy League schools Ivy League schools were likely chosen due to the fact that they have great reputations, and are institutions to which TBS students apply each year.        

Some students are excited about Career Day, but some wish they had more time to prepare.

“On the one hand, [Career Day] could be helpful, but on the other hand, we only have a week to prepare, so I think it would be better if we had more time, or if it was more general, and not so specific on college because [the students] might not want to go [to that particular school],” said seventh grader Kiran Spencer.

Similarly to seventh grade, eighth graders have job interviews. Representatives from several companies visit campus on Career Day to interview the eighth graders. Some of those companies include Vineyard Vines, FPL, and Starbucks. TBS hosts a wide variety of companies, as Vineyard Vines is clothing and retail, FPL is utilities, and Starbucks is food and hospitality. This provides students with a look at several different industries.“I think Career Day is good experience for you to learn how to get a job in the future,” said eighth grader Cameron Salehi. “Career Day is important because it helps you learn what to do when you actually have an interview,” he said.

Career Day might involve some hard work and  research for middle schoolers, but in the long-term it will be worth it. The students will get real-world experience and practice important skills that will serve them well in the future when they are ready to enter college and the work force.