Career Building: Local EMS and others help build careers

Career Fair at Thomas Jefferson helps kids answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”


Pistoresi Paramedics asks…is your career “secure” ?  (click on picture for larger view)

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Answers to the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  took center stage on Thursday.  Thomas Jefferson Middle School hosted its fourth annual Patriot Career Fair in the B.J. Robinson Gymnasium.  Guidance counselors Melissa  Cato and Trino Cadaoas invited local businesses, government agencies and area colleges to offer career information and advice to about 500 eighth graders.

Additionally, 30 seventh graders in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program were allowed to attend. “AVID is a program that helps prepare students for college,” said Cato. “It is an elective class that is also offered in high school, so the goal is that the students in the AVID class here will continue to take it in high school.”   The curriculum teaches the students organizational skills, study habits, and makes sure they are taking the correct classes for a career path that matches their interests, she said.

“We believe we need to get the kids to start early thinking about a career,” said Cadaoas. “We hope to show them there are a million things out there they can do.” Because Madera is a small town, many of the students don’t know there is a big world of opportunities out there for them, he said.

“We really appreciate the community involvement, people donating their time to talk to our students,” Cato said.  In the 45 minutes allotted during the four sessions, students had to talk with at least  three different businesses and ask the presenters five questions.  In addition to the typical questions such as what the job pays and what kind of benefit package the companies offer, the students also needed to find out what certificates or licenses the jobs require and what the employers are looking for in a worker. The business representative then had to sign off proving the student had spoken with them. The AVID classes are taught by Tom Holt in seventh grade and Anthony Trentacosta in eighth grade.

“The class gives the students background information on many different careers so they can start planning for their futures,” Trentacosta said.  Aspiring journalist Abraham Zurita enjoys working on the school newspaper, the  “Patriot Pride,” with Hal Raines as the teacher. The studious young man said he enjoys writing sports stories and stories about what is going on in the school.

“Each story starts with an outline, then the rough draft, several edits and the final draft,” Zurita said.  Digital photography is also part of each assignment. To make an interesting photo the Rule of  9 is employed, he said.  Also known as the rule of thirds, the principle states that  a rectangular photo is  considered broken down into nine segments with the most interesting parts of the photo placed along the two horizontal lines.

Uniformed law enforcement officers from both the Madera police and sheriff’s departments, as well as the Department of Corrections and the California Highway Patrol talked to the students about the duties of their offices. Representatives from the Madera Superior Court, court reporter Linda Howden and the court interpreters distributed literature on the job opportunities they offer.  Colleges in attendance included California State University, Fresno, Fresno City College and the Madera Community College Center.

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