Last week, we held our third annual Career Day at Richard R. Green High School of Teaching. Career Day is an afternoon when professionals from across the city come to the school to speak with our students in small classroom settings about their career paths and industries. The big idea, of course, is to expose our students to careers they may never have even heard of through a compelling personal connection, in hopes of inspiring them to pursue whatever it is that they really love and are excited about during and after college. What’s unique about this event is that every single one of our 550 students, regardless of academic standing or self-motivation, gets to participate.
Given that many of our students have had limited exposure to different careers and have faced challenges and stifled opportunities throughout their education, Career Day has the potential to be a truly transformational moment in their lives, opening them up to a future they simply could not have imagined before.
Career Day is my favorite project, and each year I try to come up with ways to make the event more meaningful and engaging for students. It has grown tremendously from 19 speakers in the first year to 48 speakers this year.
Additionally, we added a Career Fair, in which Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders, spoke with students about their individual passions and dream jobs. At the fair, students had the chance to speak with representatives from a variety of professions, including the military (Navy and Marines) and AmeriCorps (Vista, NCCC and CityYear), as well as non-profits that offer internships to high school students.
The speaker series featured professionals from non-profits (including Russell Simmons charities), magazine journalism (the editor and art director from US Weekly magazine), graphic design, product design, music entertainment, system design, cinematography, social media, law, nursing, fitness, software engineering, architecture, broadcasting (Terrence McKnight from NPR & WQXR), finance, healthcare management, and education. A week later, students are still talking about the speakers they met and spoke with at Career Day. In high school time, that’s an eternity!
To learn more about Career Day, or to volunteer next year, please visit the website at wix.com/rkessous/rrgcareerday.
Rachel Kessous has been a public school teacher in NYC for 9 years. In addition to being a teacher, Rachel is also the Director of the Liberal Arts Academy, where she coordinates career preparedness programming for students and mentoring programs focused around finding students passions and preparing for college.