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ECMS students learn about various professions during two-day event

By By James Crawford
News Editor
"I want to be a truck driver," said sixth grade student Dustin Odom as he fidgeted about the display table. "They have satellite TV's." Odom said as he looked forward to hearing about what it's like to be a truck driver. Odom, along with the rest of the student body at the Escambia County Middle School were treated to a career fair on Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
The classes rotated in groups from one display table to the next. Representatives from Frontier, Jefferson Davis Community College, The Atmore Fire Department, The Atmore Advance, Swift Transportation and Atmore Hospitals Med-Surg Unit were on-hand to hand out brochures, answer questions and in some cases give demonstrations of their trade.
"We try to interact with the schools as much as possible," said Maurice Moore, director of instructional support for Jefferson Davis Community College. "We offer dual enrollment with the high schools and we're thinking of taking it a step further and going to middle schools to help stimulate the students thinking in terms of what kind of career they might like to go into. They have to start thinking when they get to high school. They don't have a choice."
Representatives had about 10 minutes to talk about what it's like to work in their particular field and answer questions from the students. Every business brought along examples of their products or in case of the fire department, brought along a fire truck to show the kids.
ECMS student Eric Coley, a sixth grader as well was strictly interesting in what the paychecks would be like. "How much money do they make," replied Coley when asked what the most important factor was in choosing a career. "I like the TV's the truck drivers have."
Ashley Strawbridge, assistant nurse manager for Med-Surg at the Atmore Community Hospital said, "We want to let them know that healthcare is a wide open field right now. With the nursing shortage, the opportunities are limitless." Strawbridges display booth included a short video on the healthcare field and pamphlets entitled "Because I'm a Nurse" that highlighted some of the advantages the nursing profession has today.
But business leaders weren't the only ones demonstrating trades during career day. ECMS 7th grade student Wysteria James, who's been doing hair since she was nine and plans to pursue cosmetology as a career after high school, also had a booth and gave several demonstrations on how to take care of and style hair using various products. "I just wanted to let everyone know that I do hair and it's something they can do that's fun," said James.
"The purpose of the career fair is to expose kids at an early age to careers that are important to them. It's never too early to get them ready to start thinking about what careers they might go into," ECMS Principal Herbert Payne said.