• Career speakers work with high school students preparing for the next phase of their life

    There are some messages local career professionals stressed to students during a Career Day-type event at Bellefonte Area High School – it’s never too late to try something new, get into a career that’s enjoyable and take advantage of learning foundational skills that help make individuals great employees.

    “Football taught me to be respectful, it taught me to be responsible, it taught me to be accountable, it taught me to look someone in the eye when you're talking and how to shake somebody’s hand – a lot of soft skills needed in the real world,” said Josh Hull, former professional football player and current business development coordinator at Glenn O. Hawbaker in State College.

    Hull, a Penns Valley Area High School graduate who played football at Penn State and had a career in the NFL from 2010-2014, was a guest of the high school on March 24 in an event that allowed juniors and seniors to meet with local professionals in careers they’re most interested in.

    The event was created to complement key factors the school is anchored on, which includes providing resources for students to prepare for the next phase of their lives after graduation, such as continuing with school, going into the workforce and/or enlisting in the military.

    Some of the career fields highlighted were health sciences, engineering and architecture, business, human services, communication and more. Brit Milazzo, the district’s public relations director who serves in the U.S. Navy, was also on hand to answer questions about the possibility of serving in the military while having a civilian job.

    Senior Ayden Brannan enlisted in the Navy as a hospital corpsman and is scheduled to attend basic training in August. He took part in the session about nursing and health sciences that was facilitated by certified school nurses Rachel Griel and Alex O’Brien, who discussed the plethora of opportunities in the field, requirements needed to obtain certain health care jobs and the benefits that come with it. Brannan said the session better allowed him to understand the various health care routes that could benefit him once he leaves the service.

    Fellow senior Domenic Nelson attended the session on information technology with district Director of Technology Eric Funk and Technology Support Supervisor Nate Olson. One of the most important questions he said he had was one to better understand the rigor of the program if unfamiliar with the inner workings of computers and technology. Funk and Olson were able to answer student questions, such as the one Nelson asked, in addition to talking one-on-one with students.

    Principal Mike Fedisson said that the school’s Career Committee decided to use time with juniors and seniors to focus on career activities, while the week’s school schedule was altered due to assessments with freshmen and sophomore students.

    “We are focusing on giving students more opportunities to explore and experience careers,” he said.

    Juniors completed career exploration exercises in a program called Xello, which the guidance department uses for activities such as interest inventories, career planning and exploration, and college information and programs. Additionally, students required to follow Chapter 339: Career and Future Readiness Standards, finalized career artifacts, which are completed in fifth, eighth and 11th grades. These activities, Fedisson said, help to satisfy those requirements. And those who already met requirements for Chapter 339 were permitted to meet with speakers who were invited to discuss a variety of careers. A second similar event is planned for later in the school year.

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    School administrators said they also want to bolster job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.

    “We think this is valuable in giving students the most information about careers before they finalize their post-high school plans,” Fedisson said. “In the future, we plan to offer more of these speaking opportunities to students at all grade levels. We are looking to have students sign up based on interest and perhaps have a career lunch session to meet and discuss.”

    Professional participants

    To see a list of speakers and their bios, visit this link: Speakers and bios

    *Edited by students from Red and White newspaper as there was a conflict of interest with Milazzo, who participated in the event