Eighth-graders get early start on career choices at IVROP career day

January 13, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Steve Nicoles looks a little nervous.

At Friday's Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program junior high career day, the KYMA news reporter was faced with a room of eighth-graders looking to steal his job.

Nicoles and several other presenters from fields as diverse as health care, law enforcement and education gave workshops at Imperial Valley College about their professions to eighth-grade students from across the Imperial Valley.

Stephanie Collins, an IVROP technician, explained that instead of being too young, eighth-graders' youth is actually an advantage.

"It's a transition into high school," Collins said of eighth grade.

Career fairs at this age will prepare students for "opportunities in high school to explore more in-depth" their career options through activities such as other ROP programs, Collins said.


IVROP invited professionals from in-demand and popular fields based on results from past student surveys.

"We take tips from the kids" to provide the most useful and interesting presenters, Collins said.

Sgts. Stephanie Bell and Tim Borem from Calipatria State Prison explained that though the students are young, there's much they can do at this age to prepare.

"They don't really see that far in advance," Bell said.

"Twenty-one (years-old) seems so far away to them," she added.

When talking to students, Borem explained the qualifications of correctional officers and what middle school students can do to prepare.

"Education is really important to the Department of Corrections," Borem said after encouraging kids to stay focused on school.

Borem also told them to stay out of trouble with the law and away from drugs, as both could be impediments to careers with the Department of Corrections.

By the time the day was over, Collins was calling the event a success for the 380 students it served.

Frank Wright Intermediate School eighth-grader Mario Zoida, 14, thinks he knows where he'll be getting his future paychecks.

"I really want to get into the media. I thought (Nicoles') presentation was great," Mario said.

Nicoles' stories about covering the retrieval of a body from a river really piqued Mario's interest.

"It was so cool!" he said.

Watch out, Steve Nicoles. The competitive world of television reporting is about to get a little more competitive.

Staff writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3442.

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