Allie Neugeboren, Features Editor
With Winter Storm Stella threatening blizzard conditions, check @NCHSPFA for updates on Career Night. Update* as of 3/13, Career Night has been moved to 3/22
A common concern students have with high school is how it prepares them for the real world. In order to thrive outside of the comfort and security blanket of NCHS, students must understand what it takes to accomplish their academic goals. The PFA advocates for these students by opening Career Night up to the community to reflect what helped them attain their professions.
In 2001, parents brought their concerns to PFA Chairwoman, Susan Carroll’s attention. Now Coordinator of the College and Career Center, Ms. Carroll reflects back on founding Career Night. “Parents complained that although they felt their children were getting a great education, they had little knowledge of careers beyond what their parents did for a living,” she said.
Career Night occurs every other year in order to allow panels and career choice offerings to adapt accordingly to influences from society. Also, it allows time to adjust the panels students visit to the changing views of teenagers as they mature. “Technology plays a bigger role than it did 16 years ago. But even still, some of the most popular rooms are the tried and true such as finance, medicine and education,” she said.
Students unknowingly helped vet the 75 speakers through surveys in connections classes, then the Career Night Committee took what professions students were interested in into consideration when forming the panels.
Co-Chair of Career Night, Patricia Klapper, stresses the importance of students taking advantage of this night and exposing themselves to the endless variety of occupations. “It’s a unique opportunity to have students hear from professionals working in the fields in which they’re interested, and find out more about those careers,” she said. “That information may help to shape a student’s choices for colleges, college courses, and beyond.”
By attending, students gain information about careers that they would have never had the opportunity to learn about before. “It may inspire them to continue pursuing their goals, or to find other interests. It may also connect them to a professional in our own community who can further guide them and perhaps help them to find opportunities in the field,” she said.
Ms. Klapper advises students to use Career Night to help choose majors in college and to step out of their comfort zone. “I would say to take risks, take classes that you’d like to explore, even if they’re not in your intended major. Do research, talk to professionals and find out what’s out there that you might not realize is an option,” she said. “Also, to try as many internships as possible and use those to narrow down your interests.”
Sarah Jorgenson, Class of 2009, is returning to NCHS and using her session to help inform students about her job as an Associate Producer for CNN’s New York bureau. “I would love it if a student left my talk feeling inspired to pursue journalism as a career,” she said. “Overall, I hope students are at least inspired to think about finding their passions and turning those passions into a viable career path, whether or not that involves becoming a reporter.”
Another Class of 2009 graduate speaking at Career Night is Cassidy Aquino who currently works as a Junior Publicist at Showtime Networks Inc. Cassidy praises NCHS for equipping students with the opportunity of being senior interns. “I had a lot of internships and those taught me so much and helped me narrow in on what type of career I wanted to pursue. NCHS students are so lucky that the school has established an internship program to get them started early!” she said.
David Cox, who graduated in 2005 and now works as a Writer/Producer for On-Air Promos at Nickelodeon, wants students to know indecisiveness is usual. “It is absolutely fine to not know what you want to do when you leave high school/go to college/graduate college. As long as you continue in earnest to figure it out, you will,” he said.
Click here to read more about the rest of speakers at Career Night! Be sure to attend Career Night on March 14 at 6:30 at NCHS! Seniors, remember to bring your student IDs to sign in for your internships.