Career Day opens students' eyes to future possibilities

By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

Career Day at Mary Peacock School saw doctors, firefighters, prison employees and sign painters explaining their jobs to students of all ages Wednesday.

The event was designed to get students thinking about a career path at an early age, said principal Rick Smith.

Presenters said it was obvious that the students had already given their career choices some thought.

Younger kids are more interested in the lights and glory of the engine, said Bill Boyd, the assistant chief of the Crescent Fire Protection District, which brought a fire engine to the Mary Peacock parking lot.

Older students had money on their minds, though.

Theyre real interested in what a paid fireman makes, Boyd said.

Despite several questions from second-graders about the recent race riot at Pelican Bay State Prison, Correctional Officer Chris Acosta said he attempted to avoid discussion of the blood and guts aspects of his job.

He referred to the prisoners as the bad guys, or the blue team, due to the blue clothes worn by prisoners. The job of the opposing green team (correctional officers), according to Acosta, is to keep the blue team from escaping or hurting themselves or others.

He and Prison Industries Manager Dennis Sullivan also pointed out the many non-correctional officer positions at the prison, which include teaching, medical work and firefighting, among others.

Acosta said it was important for prison representatives to take part in Career Day, since it is the largest employer in Del Norte County.

A lot of these kids will be working out there, he said.

Second-grader Jeremy Holloway might be one of them.

Depending on what kind of job I could get, I might work with the cops, he said.

When asked whether he would consider being a fireman, he replied: No, I dont like running around in buildings when theyre on fire.

After getting to operate the fire hose, five-year-old kindergartener James Rehwalt said he could understand why someone would want to be a firefighter.

Oh, yes, it was fun, he said.

Does he want to be a firefighter himself?

Ive been thinking about it, but Im not sure, he said.