Fox 26’s Consumer Reporter, Emily Akin, was the kick off speaker at Baines Middle School’s 6th annual Career Day on Thursday, January 24. Approximately 500 8th grade students sat quietly and politely, listening carefully to the first of eight speakers scheduled to speak to them throughout the day.
Akin shared her personal journey from middle school to her present-day success. Her road was crisscrossed and changing, but the message was clear: find something that you love to do and then do not give up until you find a way to do it. Oh, and it’s okay to change your mind along the way!
The event was co-chaired by Laura Kroboth and Cynthia Duran, who serve as co-First Vice Presidents of the PTO Board. They began planning last spring with the help of Associate Principal Keith Fickel, 8th grade Guidance Counselor Dr. Tijuana Frank and the support of Fort Bend’s Principal of the Year, David Yaffie. There were also 14 committee members, and 50 volunteers from the community. The event consumed hundreds of collective hours of volunteerism. Why did they do it? Says Kroboth, “Because it is important.”
Keith Fickel has been managing these students for three years and knows most of them by name. He is sure that they know they need a plan, but feels it is essential to expose them “first hand to opportunities they have right in front of them” in a professional, legitimate trade show format.
Principal Yaffie, remembering his own career day, is sure that a “spark was planted. They may not think about it right away, but someone said something today that will impact a decision that they will make for their future. This may happen today or four years from now when they are deciding their path after high school, or it may be something that occurs to them years from now. What’s important is that every student has taken something important away from this experience.”
It is the end of the day and the students are noisy. Their feet hurt. The ties have loosened or come off and so have some of the shoes. They play with hats and toys that were given to them at the career fair and suddenly, they are 14 again. But when keynote speaker, Associate Vice President, University Outreach and Associate Vice Chancellor of Planning and Administration for the University of Houston, Dr. Marshall Schott, PHD takes the stage, they summon up the patience for just one more speaker. Aside from being a fun, engaging speaker, Dr. Marshall represents something important. He represents one possible path into their future.