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E. J. Dillon Middle School Houses Career Day

Middle school students at E.J. Dillon gave thought to their futures at the school’s annual Career Day.

A Day in the Life - Pictured are E.J. Dillon middle school students during the fifteenth annual Career Day. Students in this session watched as Veterinarian Scarlett Springate gave her dog Alex a mock exam. The retriever mix roamed around the classroom accepting pets and scratches from his new friends.
Pictured are E.J. Dillon middle school students during the fifteenth annual Career Day. Students in this session watched as Veterinarian Scarlett Springate gave her dog Alex a mock exam. The retriever mix roamed around the classroom accepting pets and scratches from his new friends.

Students were allowed to select their top five choices from a list of 40 careers. They received their schedules in homeroom; outlining three sessions of their choosing that spanned a half day.

A variety of professionals, from the entertainment world to the medical field, were asked to prepare a 40-minute classroom presentation.

Several speakers were Phoenix alums, including Architect Phil Squadrito, Preschool Teacher Lisa Balles, Cosmetologist Korena Grover, F.B.I. Agent Michael DuBois and Firefighter Dan Dunn.

Others are current Phoenix residents; Pastry Chef Ann Pellegrino, “DJ Bob” O’Connell, Nurse Teri Lawless and Nuclear Operations Specialist Robert Pellegrino.

F.B.I.- Seventh grade E.J. Dillon student Angela Hawn holds up an F.B.I. vest that was passed around to students in Special Agent Michael DuBois’s session.
Seventh grade E.J. Dillon student Angela Hawn holds up an F.B.I. vest that was passed around to students in Special Agent Michael DuBois’s session.

An emphasis was placed on ways in which school prepares students to be successful in any career.

Chef Pellegrino mentioned how knowing a foreign language is helpful in her line of work.

Words like Tiramisu and Crème Brulee come from Italian and French. Science and math are also used in baking, from substituting an ingredient to doubling a recipe.

Chef Pellegrino explained how there are two and four year programs in culinary arts. In a competitive industry, those scooped up for jobs are often the ones with the most education and experience.

Lisa Myers from the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse encouraged students to work in a field their passionate about. Students in the session shared their dreams of becoming stunt and voice actors.

Myers told students that if their interested in a theatrical career, they can begin building their special skills now. In the world of performance arts that can mean anything from knowing how to ice-skate and do a cartwheel to taking voice lessons.

Veterinarian Scarlett Springate of Highland Animal Hospital stressed the importance of education and getting good grades. To become a veterinarian, she had to obtain a Bachelor’s degree before going on to vet school for another four years.

Getting ideas - Pictured is eighth grade student Natalie Hart browsing through a look book of cakes from Gingersnap Bakery in Phoenix.
Pictured is eighth grade student Natalie Hart browsing through a look book of cakes from Gingersnap Bakery in Phoenix.

Veterinarians need to have strong communication skills, despite working with patients that can’t verbalize their symptoms. Springate often has to relay information to an animal’s owner.

Special Agent Michael DuBois is no stranger to the Phoenix Central School District. DuBois graduated in 1983, and hadn’t been back until this Career Day visit.

DuBois, who now manages F.B.I. agents, started his career as a social studies teacher, and since then has held a job as a police officer and detective. One of the most important documents that he refers to daily is the constitution, a historical document he learned of as a student.

Patrick McDougall, a Sound Recording Engineer, emphasized in his presentation the connection between skills learned in school, and those needed to be successful in the workplace. He urged students interested in becoming sound engineers to take music theory and technology courses in high school. Understanding the physics of audio is also important.