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Career Day Preps Students for College and Beyond

Sixth+grader+Emma+Nordland+%28left%29%2C+working+as+a+health+and+wellness+employee%2C+listens+to+the+heartbeat+of+fellow+classmate+Winni+Cox+during+their+time+in+BizTown+on+Friday%2C+December+1.
Sixth grader Emma Nordland (left), working as a health and wellness employee, listens to the heartbeat of fellow classmate Winni Cox during their time in BizTown on Friday, December 1.

Sixth grader Emma Nordland (left), working as a health and wellness employee, listens to the heartbeat of fellow classmate Winni Cox during their time in BizTown on Friday, December 1.

Mr. Crisafi

Mr. Crisafi

Sixth grader Emma Nordland (left), working as a health and wellness employee, listens to the heartbeat of fellow classmate Winni Cox during their time in BizTown on Friday, December 1.

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Mr. Crisafi
Ms. Lauren Berger talks to the students about good practices when it comes to internships and networking.

Benjamin prides itself on being a college preparatory school. Even at the middle school level, students gain valuable experience in regard to preparing for the interview process at the collegiate and professional levels. This takes place during the annual Career Day event, which  was held on December 1 this year.

The day began with a morning assembly in the Barker Performing Arts Center where some of the middle school dance students opened the program with a dance while wearing college football jerseys. Then, the Intern Queen, Lauren Berger, addressed the students. Not only did she complete 15 internships in four years, but Berger is also abest-selling author who has written three books about internships, their importance, and how to get them. She has also been a guest on several talk shows, including the Today Show and Fox and Friends.  Her talk to the TBS students underscored the importance of making connections in their fields of interest and following up with those contacts which can help students get jobs later in life.

Mr. Crisafi
Mrs. Corey addresses the students after the morning’s assembly in the Barker Performing Arts Center, letting them know where they need to go for Career Day.

Organized by Mrs. Loretta Corey – a local business owner, mother to three TBS alumni, and former Middle School Student Council Advisor – Career Day offers a different experience for each grade level. The sixth graders spend an entire day in workshops with faculty preparing  for Biztown, a simulated city sponsored by Junior Achievement. In the workshops, the students use the Junior Achievement workbooks as a guide in learning about a free market economy, the flow of money, the importance of offering consumers goods and services, how to manage their own personal finances, and even how to write a check and balance a checkbook.

BizTown, which is a group of business backdrops set up on one side of the gym, allows students to simulate the real world through having jobs, earning money, and ultimately trying to pay off the business loan their businesses receive from the town bank. The goal is to at least break even or, better yet, turn a profit. Some of the businesses at which students worked were McDonald’s, Publix, BB&T Bank, and a radio station.

“I thought it was very fun because you got to learn about what life is going to be like after school, and how to start a business,” said sixth grader Atticus Fasnakis-Nosal.

Biztown helps the sixth graders experience what it’s like to earn money and the benefits of having free time and spending their money on things they want,” said physical education and math teacher Ms. Erica Lazarus, who organized BizTown this year for the sixth grade.

Career Day for the seventh and eighth grade means interviews. The seventh grade spent a week writing resumes and participating in mock interviews lead by Corey. “Resumes are used throughout your lifetime and are updated every year in high school before you submit it to colleges,” she said.  “The resumes the seventh and eighth graders drafted were impressive and exceptional this year.”

On Career Day, groups of seventh graders were interviewed by high school seniors posing as various college admission officers from universities such as FSU, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, and Stanford.

Mr. Crisafi
Eighth grader Ben Taylor responds to a question by TBS parent Mrs. Kim Odom, who represented IBM during the interview session.

The eighth graders also wrote resumes and participated in mock interviews led by Corey, but they interviewed with actual representatives from companies such as IBM, Vineyard Vines, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marotta Real Estate, and Lily Pulitzer.  English Department Chair and eighth-grade English teacher Mrs. Kathleen Devine kindly let Corey take over the seventh and eighth-grade English classes for one week to prepare the students. The seventh and eighth graders worked hard as their interviews were worth a 100-point grade in their English classes. However, the benefits of Career Day go far beyond the students’ grades.  

The Career Day program is beneficial because students have a chance to practice and experience what an interview is like,” said Corey. “This prepares students for interviews for college as well as internships.”

According to Corey, high school students who have internships are at an advantage.

“[Internships] will give students a step ahead of college students who have never worked,” she said. “The students will stand out against other applicants – this is how you build a resume and colleges recognize that.”

In preparing for their interviews, the students had to research their assigned company or college to get an idea of their brand and what they offer. However, some of the representatives handled the interviews differently. For example, the IBM representative, Mrs. Kim Odom, asked more questions to the interviewees whereas the Bed Bath and Beyond representative, Mr. Steven Goldberg, allowed the students to lead the interviews. Either way, students definitely recognized the benefit of this experience.

“It gives us the experience beforehand so that we are better prepared for the future,” said eighth grader Ella Pierman.

“I think Career Day [is beneficial] because it helps you prepare for interviews and resumes,” said seventh grader Aditya Jasti. “It also helps because it gives people an opportunity to see what the experience of the interview is like.”

It was a great day for the students as they were able to gain invaluable knowledge that will pay dividends as they look forward to college and beyond. When Benjamin students one day find themselves interviewing for an internship or a job, they hopefully will look back on Career Day and realize how much it prepared them, making them better equipped to have a leg up in the working world.

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Career Day Preps Students for College and Beyond