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Students get hands-on learning at Career Day

OCEANSIDE — Career Day at Del Rio Elementary School gave pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students a hands-on look at dozens of different careers May 19.
A tow truck, fire engine and police car rolled onto the playground. Horns and sirens blasted, elementary school students took inside tours of work vehicles and rode the flatbed lift on the back of the tow truck.
A musician and service dog owner were among the day’s presenters. Students tried their hand at playing percussion instruments and watched while a service dog put items into a basket.
“I’ve never seen a school go to the extent
Del Rio does,” Kelly Crouthamel, a third-grade substitute teacher, said.
“I don’t think they’re aware of some of these jobs,” Scott Rogers, a fifth-grade teacher, said.
Classes rotated through 20-minute career demonstrations that were geared to inspire future job choices. Presenters shared what they do at work and the education they needed to get the job.
Students and career presenters look forward to the annual event.
“I love the public education stuff,” Ron Owens, fire investigator, said. “Getting down to their level, getting them involved.”
Presenters said that the day helps build community understanding of the jobs they do.
Dave Brown, owner of S&R Towing, has been a Career Day presenter for four years. He said kids often think that tow truck drivers simply pull away illegally parked cars and do not realize that drivers help motorists in distress.
Teachers said they are pleased that community role models can help students set future goals.
“It’s never too early for them to start thinking about what they’d like to strive for,” Marlena Saavedra, a kindergarten teacher, said.
Presenters made an impact on even the youngest students. Second-grade students in M.J. Wagner’s class came up with questions like, “How long did it take you to reach your goal?” and “Why did you follow your dream?”
“It makes them realize all that work they’re doing is worth it,” Wagner said.
School Principal Marie Higareda de Ochoa said Career Day is critical for the 70 percent of the student population that is from low-income families. “It helps them see what potentially is in their future,” Higareda de Ochoa said.