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Career Day Encourages Eighth Graders to Consider the Future

Among the panelists were,from left, Myung Kang-Huneke, Chief of Staff and General Counsel for Sesame Workshop; Al Leiter, 19-year MLB pitcher and current broadcaster for YES and MLB Network; Michael Gold, attorney for NHL; Pat Capra, business manager for athletes.
Inspiring the students were Danielle Jurista, fashion designer; Melissa Birnbaum, photographer/dancer; Megan Frackoviak, brand director for toy manufacturer; and Jonathon Lijoi, musician and educator.
Presenters at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School’s Career Day and school staff members who assisted in coordinating the event gather for a photo in the school’s entry concourse.

What will I be when I grow up? That question was no doubt on the minds of the eighth graders at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School after participating in the school’s Career Day held April 29.

Career Day, an annual event for eighth graders at the school, gave the students an opportunity to hear from a number of speakers representing a variety of professions. The day began with an opening presentation in the auditorium, where the students saw a video made by and starring their classmates, who discussed their future goals and aspirations. A second video gave an overview of the “changing future of work.” Principal Matt Block made the keynote address, advising the students that it is not too early to start thinking about their career goals.

Following the assembly, students broke into smaller groups to listen to panels of guest speakers who represented careers in athletics, medicine, law, and many more.

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“The panelists were extremely thorough in discussing their career choices and requirements, using candor and humor to get their points across,” said LCJSMS guidance counselor Stefanie Jurista. “Career Day is a greatly anticipated highlight of the eighth grade advisory curriculum and an integral part of our Career Exploration unit.” Ms. Jurista, with the assistance of counselors Jane Parkinson, Elke Luftig, and Cristina Martinez, organized Career Day.

According to feedback from the students, Career Day was well received, thought provoking, and interesting, Ms. Jurista said. The students also suggested that Career Day be longer and include more panelists.

“Career Day is such a significant program because it is imperative that our students begin thinking about their futures as they embark on their journey to the high school,” Ms. Jurista said.  “We would not have been able to deliver such a successful event without the panelist’s willingness to share their own personal experiences and the hard work of our Guidance Department and faculty.”

The panelists who volunteered their time to Career Day are: Dave Bannister, Melissa Birnbaum, Pat Capra, Rich Doyen, Megan Frackoviak, Summit’s Assistant Superintendent of Schools Julie Glazer, Michael Gold, LCJ Summit Middle School Security Officer Pete Ilaria, Michael Jurista, Danielle Jurista, Myung Kang-Huneke, Jonathon Lijoi, Al Leiter, Dr. Christopher Magovern, Steven Marcus, LCJSMS Social Studies Department Supervisor Erik Parks, Dr. John Robina, Summit Board ofEducation member Gloria Ron-Fornes, Michael Shapiro, Jason Wertheimer, and Ann Zanelli. 

In addition to LCJSMS Guidance Counselors Stefanie Jurista, Jane Parkinson, Elke Luftig, and Cristina Martinez, other Summit staff members participating in the program were elementary school counselor Tom DeMuro, Summit High School Guidance Counselor Scott Petrillo, Summit Schools Director of Guidance Dr. John Schnedeker, LCJSMS technology support teacher Dory Marcus, Principal Matt Block, and Assistant Principal Jeff Heaney.  

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