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Academy holds career day for future work force
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Courtan McQueen of the Gainesville Fire Department helps Gainesville Exploration Academy fifth-grader Sammy Carlos try on a firefighter coat Friday during Career Day at the school. - photo by Tom Reed

Gainesville Exploration Academy gave students the opportunity to learn more about future careers on Friday at the school’s first Career Day.

The school invited businesses and professionals from the community to set up booths in the gym so students could talk to professionals about why they enjoy their jobs.

"The purpose of this event is kind of like drop-out prevention," said Dee Siphambili, school counselor at Gainesville Exploration. "We want our kids to realize that after elementary school, they go to the middle school, they go to the high school, but there is something we can do after high school."

Siphambili said it is important for kids to realize life doesn’t end at graduation. She said some studies show that the decision to drop out can come as early as elementary school.

"We are trying to expose them to different occupations that they may be interested in doing later in life," she said. "If we let them know that there is more to life, it may motivate them to stay in school and work toward something," Siphambili said.

Featured guests at Career Day were asked to focus on what school skills are needed for certain careers.

"We want them to know that they will still use the skills that they learn in school when they are going beyond," said Titia Sargent, a literacy coach at Gainesville Elementary.

Daisy Cruz, a fifth-grader at Gainesville Exploration, said she enjoyed talking to people about pet grooming at Career Day, but she hopes to be a doctor in the future so she can help children.

Firefighter and EMT Courtlan McQueen said Career Day can give elementary students knowledge of what their options are after school.

"It gives them something to be interested in and something to work toward schoolwise," McQueen said.

"(Students should) stay in school, get good grades, work hard and not give up," McQueen said.

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