Career Day 2014

February 20th marked the kickoff of El Segundo High School’s second annual Career Day. The event was organized by Mrs. Linal Miller’s Career Readiness class, a year-long elective class for juniors and seniors which helps prepare students for college and careers. Folasade Bamimore, a junior in Career Readiness says, “I think it’s important for everyone to take this class because it helps you identify your skills and talents and apply them to the real world.”  

Career Day is just one way students have the chance to use their transferable skills. Serving the nearly 1,300 students at El Segundo High, the Career Readiness students began planning the event in November. Their objective was to provide their peers opportunities to learn about potential careers, acquire skills needed for life after high school, and gain insight into their own career paths.

Using feedback from last year’s event, the Career Readiness students began collaborating to create a new marketing strategy for their target audience. They designed an official logo and slogan, advertised, recruited guest speakers, spread enthusiasm throughout the student body, and planned the logistics. In addition, student career interest data was collected via a new online survey created by junior Alex Fowler.

Two weeks before Career Day, the Career Readiness students coordinated an assembly to prepare students for the event. The assembly opened with a video trailer created by former Career Readiness student, Nick Paredes (now studying film at NYU).  It highlighted segments of last year’s event. Next, pairs of students used their presentation skills to address their peers. They described the process they went through to gather data, recruit guest speakers, and provide relevant workshops such as time management, emotional intelligence, resume writing, interview skills, communication, career exploration, and more.  Short video clips, created by students Janna Lao and Niki Reitano, were used to explain workshop content. Later, to excite students for a school wide spirit day stressing interview attire, Career Readiness hosted a fashion show featuring student models. The emcee for the show was Heather Gast from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM). Hair was done for student models by representatives from Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy while make-up was done by Cherish Del Rosario, who studied under renowned make-up artist and hairstylist, Carla Farra.

After the assembly, the students continued by assigning students to classrooms and facilities across the whole campus.  They prepared individual entrance tickets and attendance sheets. Senior Sashini Godage, who often worked extra hours analyzing and interpreting spreadsheet data, commented, "Although the process was tedious and stressful at times, I found that it really helped me understand the demands of the workplace.”  Juniors Ashley Sims , as well as seniors Elizabeth Huerta, Laura Feldman and Lauren Guerrero who were at school into the late evening the night before the event got to see what it’s like to have to stay at “work” until the job gets done. They also saw how their perseverance paid off.

Over 85 guest speakers and workshop facilitators participated in Career Day. Careers ranged from Business Owner, to Physical Therapist, to Sound Engineer, to the Armed Services, and much more. Students had the opportunity to receive firsthand information about their field of interest. Guest speakers told students about their personal career paths, including the education and work experience needed to prosper in their fields. Stephan Mazuk, Senior Project Engineer at the Aerospace Corporation remarked, “[The] students did a professional job organizing the event. I've been to technical meetings that were not run as well. A student told me it was inspiring to know a real person working in the career field, which makes the effort worthwhile.”  

To further help students prepare for the workforce, the Career Readiness team also hosted workshops to teach students valuable life skills. Time/money management, communication, and social/emotional intelligence workshops provided insight into personal skills needed now and in the future. Resume writing and interview preparation workshops aided students in beginning their job or internship search. A workshop called True Colors helped students better understand their individual strengths that match college majors and careers. Senior Chelsea Day noted, “[True Colors] was spot on in depicting my personality and brought me new ideas about potential career fields.” Additionally, Career Readiness organized workshops centered towards specific careers. An ASVAB results workshop assisted students in interpreting their test results and exploring various skill-based careers, while more than 80 students considering a career in acting participated in the Television/Film Audition workshop hosted by Clair Sinnet, from Actors Working. Each workshop left students a step closer to success after high school and college.
Career Readiness collaborated with local businesses to host the Career Fair after the workshops. Tables filled El Segundo High School’s North Quad. Companies like Mattel shared internship information, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles recruited volunteers as well. Michelle Kissman, founder of Gabby Crusader, promoted the advancement of women in STEM professions, while Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy attracted those interested in cosmetology with a hair styling demonstration.

Other companies and representatives from the day’s event included El Segundo’s Murad, DirecTV,  Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Davis and DeRosa Physical Therapy, Saddington Baynes, the El Segundo Museum of Art, Hypnosis Works,  Net Data Centers, Kinecta, David Watson Architect, TG Construction, El Segundo Animal Hospital, ESPD, Area 44, as well as the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, The Aerospace Corporation, Hurley, LA Fire Dept., Beverly Hills Fire Dept., Central Ford, Hope Chapel, FBI, Republic Services, Kaiser Permanente, Cal State LA, Argosy University, US Air Force, Army, and Marines, Yogurtland, Jamba Juice, and more.   The Career Readiness students were able to provide breakfast and lunch for the guests, as well as provide every student with a commemorative iPad stylus pen, thanks to generous donations from  Commercial Pro, Inc., Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Albertsons Marina Del Rey, Noah’s Bagels, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Andiamo’s and individual parents.

Senior Hunter Gabel remarks, “I feel the event was a major success leaving El Segundo High School students excited and better prepared for their prospective career paths.” After debriefing and discussing feedback given via an online evaluation for students and teachers, next year’s Career Readiness class will be equipped to plan Career Day 2015.

When asked for final thoughts on Career Day 2014, Miller emphasized how proud she was of her students.  “They all grew and learned so much about communication, collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, and the use of new technology, as well as soft skills like commitment, responsibility, teamwork, work ethic, and unselfishness --  all necessary in the workplace. Hopefully, we have helped the student body get closer to discovering their own career paths and developing career ready skills before they leave the realms of high school and depart for college or the workforce. I would like it to be said that not only does El Segundo High School produce academically distinguished students but qualified, contributing citizens in a global economy.”