Sheffield 5th graders sample careers

Photos submitted to Times Observer Times Observer Managing Editor Jon Sitler with Kris Conn’s Sheffield Area Elementary School fifth-graders.

Sheffield’s fifth-graders are learning what career they want to do.

Well, not yet, but they are learning about careers.

Sheffield Area Elementary School teacher Kristine Conn invites speakers to talk about their careers to her fifth-graders — as part of a “career” project.

Last week, Times Observer managing editor Jon Sitler sat with the students, answering any and almost all questions they had.

One wasn’t a question.

Photos submitted to Times Observer Times Observer Managing Editor Jon Sitler with Kris Conn’s Sheffield Area Elementary School fifth-graders.

“You look like Jimmy Fallon,” one student said.

Not a question.

The project starts with the students doing a survey of their interests and talents. The survey generates a list of three areas the student would be strong in for a career. From that list, the student then picks what they would like to be when they grow up. A picture is taken of each student by Conn, which each student uses to create a poster. Conn displays each poster in her room.

Conn and the students then work together to create a list of careers and people that they would like to invite into their classroom to speak about their careers. She tries to bring in as many parents as possible to speak, then branches out to look within the community.

“How much money do you make?” asked one student.

“Not enough.”

So far this year, 10 speakers have made it into the Conn’s classroom to speak about their careers, including: Thad Turner, CEO of the Warren County YMCA and a retired Navy Seal; Deputy Josh Frederoski, Warren Sheriff’s Department; JJ Michaels (Chuck Demko), Radio Broadcasting; Sherry Henry, Mental Health; Wayne Roel, Forestry Department; Tommy Hammerback, Surgical Technologist; Brandon Troutman, X-Ray Technician; Nate Lindberg, Northwest Savings Bank/Infrastructure Systems Engineer; Terryjane Chairavolloti (Human Resources) and Jason Harkins (GM of Manufacturing), Ellwood National Forge; and Sitler, Times Observer.

“What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the paper?”

“No comment.”

Conn’s classroom still has plans to welcome more speakers on their careers, including Holly Strausser, Blair Corporation, and Arthur Stewart, Cameron Energy.

The career project will culminate with the students doing a career research project.

Each student will select the career that they like, research that career, and create a PowerPoint on the research that they did. Each student will then present their PowerPoint on the research that they did at a Career Fair scheduled at the end of the year. Students involved must dress as the career person that they have selected, set up a booth that represents the chosen career, and prepare a 1-2 minute summary of their research.

The Career Fair will be held during the day for the students’ peers and in the evening for parents and families. Booths will be set up for people to walk around and select a student to present their project.

“My biggest hope for this project is that we can open the eyes of these students to a career that they may never have heard about before and that they may make them happy throughout their life,” said Conn.

Students at Sheffield involved with the project include: Christian Akers, Zach Barnes, Kayle Bell, Brooke Blymiller, Kyler Carlson, Jack Chapman, Raegan Eckstrom, Hayden Holden, Ben Lindberg, Allison Lindemuth, Austin Mason, Emma McBride, Wyatt Newark, Emma Roell, Bella Smith, Peyton Wotorson, Kirk Zofkin, Emory Arnold-Kring, Brooke Campbell, Vanessa Clemens, Allen Eaton, Maggie Elms, Austin Fiscus, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Makenna Goldwaithe, Acacia Greeley, Isaac Hammerback, Gavin Hayes, Addisen Heeter, Emre Morgan, Ryan Posker, Kylie Shreffler, Matthew Smith, Landon Snell, Kaylee Weiser, Abbie Yeager, and Will Zdarko.

“I was incredibly impressed with this fifth-grade class,” said Sitler. “Sure, they had suggestions from teachers on questions to ask, but asked so many more because they were extremely inquisitive. I have no doubt these students will go on to be successful in whatever they do.”

“For some, it may not be journalism,” said Sitler. “One wants to be a paleontologist.”