Poland Middle School students learn about future career paths

By Jordyn Grzelewski



Some Poland Middle School students want to be doctors. Others want to be lawyers.

Others are interested in careers in engineering, business and graphic design.

Last week they learned about all of these career options and more.

Career counselors and dozens of people representing different career paths visited the school Friday. For eighth-grade students, Career Day was tailored to their interests, with each student selecting five career paths and then attending presentations about each of them.

“To make it more worthwhile for the kids, I let them see what they wanted to see,” said middle-school guidance counselor Mary Jo Rowan.

Rowan said it’s important for students to start thinking about their career paths in middle school because in a few years they will be scheduling the high-school classes that will set them on their career paths.

“I really like them to start exploring what their personality is like, what their interests are ... to home in on high school and beyond,” she said. “I think the kids really enjoy it, and I like giving them this opportunity to explore different career options.”

Students had the chance to hear from a lawyer, teacher, engineer, fashion merchandising professional, journalist, doctor, personal trainer and others.

Among the speakers was U.S. Army Maj. Eddie Woody, who has three children in the school district. Woody, who works as a support operations plans officer in Farrell, Pa., and has been in the Army 19 years, talked to a group of eighth-graders about what he views as the essential foundation of not just one’s career, but life: leadership.

“In the Army, we call leadership inspiring someone to accomplish a mission by providing purpose, motivation and direction,” Woody said.

He explained leadership to students in terms of a house: If leadership is the roof, it is held up by the pillars of integrity, respect, character and compassion. Filling that house, Woody said, is hard work, commitment, focus, a selfless attitude, encouragement, unity and fidelity.

Eighth-grade student Angelo Elia said he is interested in a career in the military because he wants to be part of a team.

“I know if you’re part of a team for a while, they become like family,” he said.

Angelo said he learned new things from Career Day, including about leadership.

“[Woody’s] lesson was very inspiring,” he said.

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