‘Who will I be? It’s up to me’

Homer Middle School students met with local professionals to learn more about possible careers.

Eighth graders at Homer Middle School last Tuesday had the opportunity to learn about various careers they might be interested in from more than 40 community members spanning the professional career spectrum. The Homer Middle School Career Day was organized to help students prepare for their future.

Students learned how to write resumes, what skills are required for their careers, how to answer interview questions, as well as how to dress for their professional goals.

Community members representing numerous career fields joined the students Tuesday morning for mock job interviews, including city officials, emergency responders, business owners, teachers, technicians and more.

According to Sarah Brewer, a long term substitute teacher at Homer Middle School, the interviews gave the students “valuable real life experience, as well as introduces them to some wonderful people from our community.”

“We also had a wonderful set of welders, fishermen/women, teachers, REC room personnel, firefighters, ASL interpreters, carpenters, heavy equipment operators, scientists/researchers, lawyers,” said Brewer. “It really was an inspiring bunch of people from all around Homer. We tried to find something that would be of interest to every student.”

One community participant, Rachel Lord, owner of Alaska Stems, shared that she was “really impressed” will all of the students she interviewed.

“They were all well prepared and had obviously put effort in up front to this exercise,” Lord said. “There was variation between the students, but all of them spoke with a decent amount of confidence to both their personal strengths and weaknesses.”

While the students may only be in eighth grade, Lord said career day was a great opportunity for the students to find a future they are passionate about and the interviews helped prepare them to be successful.

“Sitting down in front of someone you don’t know and speaking candidly and confidently can be incredibly challenging. We get better at hard things through practice, and this was a great way to practice,” Lord said. “Job interviews are also great times to learn a bit more about different career and seasonal opportunities; I hope these interviews sparked inspiration for some of the participants.”

Rand Seaton, a math teacher at Homer Middle School and event organizer, said the event is always fun and provides the students with “extremely valuable” life skills that are useful for their future.

One eighth grader who is interested in architecture and engineering, Joseph Felice, said his interviews gave him “real life experience with experts in the field” and helped him learn about more local opportunities.

“Architecture takes a lot of team building and communicating,” Felice said. “And that all of these careers can be found in Homer.”

It also helped him feel prepared for when he is old enough to be interviewed for a job that he is interested in.

Another student, Hannah Baum, is interested in several different careers, including architecture, journalism and marine biology. Baum said the interviews helped her realize how much time, effort and dedication is necessary in order to be successful in her future career.

Zayda Gagnon, who wants to serve those in need, said she was excited to see how diverse the professional community in Homer was. Gagnon said the community interviews helped her by showing “the amount of diversity of careers represented at the event. Each of them were represented in some form.”

At the end of the mock interviews, the community members were able to give each student feedback on how they did and how they could improve.

Reach reporter Sarah Knapp at sarah.knapp@homernews.com.

A Homer Middle School eighth grader is interviewed by Kachemak Emergency Services during the career day exercise on Feb. 15. (Photo by Sarah Brewer)

A Homer Middle School eighth grader is interviewed by Kachemak Emergency Services during the career day exercise on Feb. 15. (Photo by Sarah Brewer)