Farragut Intermediate School’s 351 fifth-graders got a head start on thinking about their future by participating in 4th Annual FIS Career Day.
Thirty speakers from an array of professions — ranging from law enforcement and artistic to scientific — talked to students throughout the special day, which took place Monday, Dec. 11, and was organized by the school’s Guidance Department.
“I want the students to have the opportunity to explore different career opportunities,” said Carol Slatas, FIS guidance counselor. “We are exposing students to a variety of jobs.”
Slatas added that exposure is important because it prepares them now for the future.
“I learned you can change your mind once you see what you will be doing,” student Hailey Kutz said. “Like, I wanted to be a [veterinarian] but now I want to be a business owner because I had an experience putting down a dog and that’s very sad. I knew the dog my whole life.
“I would probably like to be a graphic designer and design shirts,” Hailey added. “[The graphic designer’s presentation] was really cool because they use all these computers. It’s cool how it transfers from paper to computer.”
“I learned about lots of different jobs and opportunities, the importance of the jobs and how they deal with problems,” student Tyler Slatas said. Tyler is interested in becoming an air traffic controller, but said the most interesting speaker he heard during Career Day was the police officer.
Student Alexandra Wezensky said she learned from the graphic designer how to make shirts and other items.
“You get to make art and how to get to different design programs,” she said.
Alexandra selected graphic design as a career choice because “I’m really into art and designing clothes. I would like to take classes when I get in high school.”
However, she said she thought the police officer “was a little more interesting because she talked about the different cases she was on and what she had to do to be a police officer.”
After hearing from kick-off speaker Clay Alexander, an associate director of freshman recruitment at UT, each student heard from three speakers, which they had selected previously in a counseling session, Carol Slatas said.
“Then, we did an assessment that told us which career cluster would be best for the students at this time,” she added.
Dr. Jamie Clanin, a veterinarian with Central Veterinary Hospital, was among the speakers, and said the students had “a lot of interesting questions.
“[Many] asked what was the strangest animal I worked on.” Clanin added, “That all depends on how you define strange.”
Dr. Todd Toops, an R & D scientist with Oak Ridge National Laboratories’ Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center, talked to the students about internal combustion engines.
“[The students] wanted wind turbines on all the vehicles,” he said. “They had a lot of questions about cars going electric.”
“It was awesome,” said another guest speaker, Master Robert
Butturini, owner of Knoxville Academy of Martial Arts, about Career Day.
“It’s one of those things the youths really need to think about — their futures — and be able to ask about their professions and about business people they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to meet.”
Students also heard from an ICU nurse, a musician, an artist, an architect and engineers.
Slatas lauded Anthony Miller, a guidance counselor intern from the University of Tennessee, who organized the scheduling of speakers, preparation for events and logistics.
“He was a huge help,” Slatas said. “He played a huge role in organizing the event.”
Miller also sat in on one of the speakers’ presentation.
“Just seeing it from the kids’ point of view was a memorable experience,” he said.