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The importance of career days
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About a month ago, I had the pleasure of serving as one of the Career Day guest speakers at French Camp School.
I usually feel out of my element when it comes to public speaking. Facing a bunch of eighth-grade students, in this case, was no exception.
Annie Cunial, the school’s program coordinator, organized a similar-type Career Day while at Golden West School, inviting yours truly on two occasions to speak about my chosen profession to the young group.
She decided to try this exercise at French Camp.
“This is a good age for students to find out what they might want to pursue as they enter high school,” Cunial said. “We’re hoping that Career Day could open up some those possibilities and help them choose the right classes.”
I was determined to do better this time around, taking my past experience in this type of setting into account. Looking back, I wasn’t pleased with my effort when I talked to the Golden West eighth-grade students a few years ago.
Organization was the key.
I structured some of my thoughts beforehand, jotting down notes of my work experience, fun facts about the business, and stories of my famous encounters. Just typing this stuff out proved to be a good exercise in preparation.
For example, I noted that my most famous encounter was covering Michael Jordan in his prime with the Chicago Bulls. I was a reporter in Fresno County some 10 years ago, with his “Airness” making a special trip to the area back then for the Rod Higgins Summer Basketball Classic. Higgins played his college hoops at Fresno State and the friendship between the two dates back to Jordan’s rookie year.
When posed that question by the French Camp youngsters, I mentioned Jordan. However, I also told the group that I was most proud of my working relationship with Rafer Johnson.
Thankfully, Matt Hutsell, the junior high social studies teacher, provided eighth-grade students with some classroom perspective on the 1960 Olympic gold medal decathlete, instead, mentioning Johnson’s work on Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign trail.
Hutsell, in fact, made my job as a guest speaker so much easier. He served as the Geography Bee moderator earlier in the school year, and managed to maintain much of the same flow for those of us involved in Career Day.
No word yet if he was able to do the same for his brother, Daniel Hutsell, a police officer and guest speaker during the French Camp event.
I ended up speaking two sessions at Career Day. Since I came prepared, I found the entire experience at French Camp as quite enjoyable.
Now I can’t wait for next year.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail HYPERLINK “”