Nearly 250 students take part in first career day

March 29, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

Niland — For youths of all ages, planning a day's activities is a hard enough thing.

Planning for their future rarely comes into play.

Grace Smith Elementary School in this small community has taken a large step in helping students envision their future.

About 242 students participated in the school's first career day.

Law enforcement agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, state Department of Corrections, county Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol were at the career day talking about working toward a law enforcement career and their experiences in the field.

The California Department of Fish and Game, the Niland Fire Department, KECY-TV and Fish Producers Inc. also made presentations.

"It's important to bring other resources to their attention. It helps them focus," said Paul Martin, a resource teacher and site leader for the school-to-career program.


Martin said in the past only sixth- to eighth-grade students at Grace Smith were taken to a career day at Calipatria High School.

"Now kindergarten through eighth-grade students are participating," said Martin.

"It gives them a wide view of the services available in the Valley," he said.

Benjamin Marquez, harvest manager at Fish Producers Inc. of Niland, showed students various sizes of catfish. Students touched and asked questions about the fish.

In a presentation by Border Patrol agents, students were shown how dogs are used to locate illegal narcotics.

Linda Aleksick, an eighth-grade teacher at Grace Smith, said, "The kids are having a great time. Hopefully it will focus them and they'll progress with it."

"I wish they had something like this when I was in school or when my children were in school," she added.

Wendy Koon, a fifth-grade teacher, said, "It's a great opportunity to show them there is a lot out there. That there are people from here that have made something of themselves."

"I hope they do this every year," she added.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 370-8549.

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