Spotswood's Appleby School Caps Off Read Across America Week With Career Day

Claudia Addesso's third grade class shares their hopes and dreams for the future on Career Day at Appleby Elementary School. Credits: Dawn Miller
Kristen Tempera's fifth graders had an eclectic mix of possible careers from pediatric oncologist (Collin Jackson) to MMA fighter (Olivia Williams) and beyond. Credits: Dawn Miller
Emily Handwerk, Guiliana Spinale, Aliya Shaikh and Molly Fink would all someday like to join the ranks of Spotswood School District educators. Credits: Dawn Miller

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - So, what do you want to be when you grow up? It's a difficult question that many struggle with even if they're already an adult. It's a question that Appleby Elementary School students recently pondered as they thought about what the future may hold for them. The second through fifth grade school in the Spotswood School District capped off a week-long reading celebration with Career Day on Friday, March 3.

The National Education Association christened Read Across America Day on March 2, 1988, Dr. Seuss' birthday. Their goal was to throw the biggest party to honor the joys of reading and center it around one of the most recognizable children's book authors of all time. Many schools like Appleby have turned the one-day reading bonanza into a five-day reading fiesta.

Appleby students started off the week wearing wacky clothing for Mayhem Monday, spent Hump Day honoring the Garden State with a visit from Miss New Jersey, Brenna Weick, got wild with animal prints on Thursday and came to school dressed as what they want to be when they grow up for Career Day.

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"We usually do costume day on Friday," Jennifer Asprocolas explained. "We dress up like your favorite book character and we really wanted to expand it this year."

The teachers began by reaching out to parents and people they interact with on a daily basis to see who might be interested in coming in to speak with the students about their careers. They ended up with a varied list that included a police officer (Hector Cifuentes), an electrician (Charles Spicuzzo), a firefighter (Tim Asprocolas), a borough councilman (Pete Karczewski), a guidance counselor (Michael Del Aversano), a chef (Elon Chan), a nurse (Karen Nesi), an administrative assistant (Maria Karczewski), a fashion designer (Irene West), an information technology manager (Chris Rauscher), an information technology technician (Andrew Bartlett) and a stay-at-home mom (Mrs. Williams).

The teachers devised a schedule so that a professional was able to speak to each class for thirty minutes. Each individual spoke about his or her career, answered student questions and read a Dr. Seuss book.

Appleby students embraced Career Day with an abundance of enthusiasm, dressing up in attire to mirror their future life goals.

"I thought it would be kind of neat for them to think about the future; think about who they want or inspire to be," Asprocolas said.

Emily Handwerk, Guiliana Spinale, Aliya Shaikh and Molly Fink all came to Career Day dressed as teachers. When asked why they wanted to become educators the third graders immediately turned to their teacher, Claudia Addesso, with huge smiles.

Kristen Tempera's fifth grade class had a varied list of future paths. Andrew Bloomberg, Jorden Oster, Olivia Aidao, Claudia Paradysz, Colin Pfeiffer, Olivia Williams and James Curnal all shared a similar goal; to be a professional athlete in their respective sport. Sal Lewis came dressed in a shirt and tie. He is eyeing a career in law. Jazzmine Kurtz would like to try her hand at being a baker while Donovan Gallagher said that he wanted to be an engineer. 

"What they really ought to do," Asprocolas said. "Is take a picture of each class today and then take a look back ten years from now."

Where will these third and fifth grade students be in a decade or two? Will they be in their said career or a completely different profession?

On the wipe board in Addesso's third grade classroom a Dr. Seuss quote took center stage, touching on the sky's the limit enthusiasm of Appleby's Career Day.

"Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don't. Because sometimes you won't."

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