Career Day Inspires Kids to Reach Dreams

Novant Health's helicopter made a landing at Walter Bickett Elementary School to surprise students during Career Day. Every student got to see the helicopter up-close and talk to the pilot and nurse.

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Walter Bickett Elementary students got a treat on Friday, March 8, when school nurse Ilene Jackowitz, pulled off the school’s first Career Day. Students were inspired to learn about careers in exciting fields, such as the Secret Service, the Marines, the NFL, construction, marketing, veterinary medicine, writing, technology, law and so much more. The day was inspirational and informative for children who were amazed at the variety of careers available to them right in their community.

“I wanted them to see first-hand what hard work and dedication to themselves can accomplish,” said Jackowitz, who had been planning the event over the past six months. “I truly hope my students understand that it does not matter where you come from. Your dreams begin here and now. Nothing should ever make them feel any dream is unreachable.”

The day kicked off with the students reciting a positive mantra, led by Jackowitz, and making promises to themselves. “I will shoot for the stars and beyond! I can and I will succeed in anything I put my mind to,” they chanted. Next, two fifth grade students read their winning essays from the school’s “What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?” contest. Maite Maldonaldo-Cruz expressed her desire to be an immigration lawyer, to help people like her parents learn about immigration laws and help them provide opportunities for their children in the United States. Thomas Spencer explained why he dreamed to be an inventor, so he could come up with ideas and products to help people live a better life.

Fifth-grader Maite Maldonaldo-Cruz wants to be an immigration lawyer, and she had the chance to meet lawyer Tanya Pino, Corporate Counsel at Assa Abloy.

Students at the Title 1 school visited with professionals at more than 20 tables arranged in the school gym, collecting information, cool giveaways and schooling and career advice. The students were surprised by a visit from former student Jamison Crowder, NFL player for the Washington Redskins and former Bickett student. He advised kids to pay attention in school, listen to their parents, and always dedicate themselves to hard work and going for their dreams.

Many students connected with Dr. Susan Bonilla of Passionate Paws in Waxhaw. “They were excited to learn that they can one day run their own business, especially a business where you get to love dogs and cats all day,” Bonilla says. Like Bonilla, the many professionals who presented at Career Day say it’s a way to give back to the community and to inspire kids of all ages and backgrounds to go for their goals.

This group was enthralled speaking with Dr. Susan Bonilla of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw.

Students mingled with community workers from the Monroe Police Department and their K-9, EMS technicians, Monroe Middle School principals and students from the Allied Health Professions program. At 12:15, the entire school rushed to the lawn to witness Novant Health’s helicopter land on school property. The purple helicopter touched down to the sound of shrieking students, as they moved in to check out the helicopter up-close and talk with the pilot and the on-board nurse.

“Learning about careers at this age is very important so that we can begin to form and shape the rest of our lives,” said fifth-grader John Sturdivant. “Career day gave me a lot of options to consider and the importance of everyone’s job in the world.” Fellow fifth-grader Joshua Carver agreed. “I got to see different careers and be inspired, and I learned that everyone has an important part to play in our community.”

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Anna Prokos
As an author of more than 50 children's books, Anna Prokos enjoys crafting stories that engage, entertain and educate readers of all ages. She loves to coach aspiring authors, speak about writing and publishing, and edit manuscripts to help others get published. Originally from NJ, she and her family lovingly now call Waxhaw home.

To learn more, please visit a-to-z