By Yvette Smith, Courier staff May 14, 2014
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Barkley Elementary School hosted its fifth annual career day May 2, giving students an opportunity to explore a variety of future career opportunities.
With more than 25 booths set up outside of the school, students were able to rotate and listen to presenters talk about their occupations that varied from a veterinarian, to golf professionals, to a barber.
Students from pre-K through fifth grade were encouraged to dress up to reflect "what they want to be when they grow up," said Shirley Chester, guidance counselor at Barkley, however the career fair goal was to introduce kids to not so obvious career paths.
"Our goal is to open up the world of occupations," said Chester. "Basically, it is an exploration -- so they can have exposure to some careers or occupations that they may not know anything about."
Eleven-year-old Zion Hughes always wanted to be a doctor. However, she discovered other interesting options during the fair. One of her favorite booths was robotics.
"I think it is an engineering station, robotics, and you have to like move the robots," said Zion. "It is pretty challenging because you have to look at the cameras and then look back to see if you are not going to hit anything."
Staff Sgt. Brian Zimmerman, 49th Ordnance Company, helped students operate the TALON and PACBOT, two small robots used by the unit.
"The PACBOT is much lighter, much faster and normally used for reconnaissance and our TALON, quite a bit heavier, has a much stronger arm which we use to dig around [improvised explosive devices] and pull them up," said Zimmerman. "Our goal is to introduce kids to robotics, show them how it applies to our job and how it is applied to other aspects of the civilian world as well."
Although hard to compete with robots, the barber station booth had lines of students eagerly waiting for their turn to get their faces "shaved."
"This is my fourth time doing it," said Rafi Blount of Goodfellas Barber Shop in Clarkville, Tenn. "I really enjoy it and the kids get a kick out of the barber. I'm here just to show kids that barbering is another career path they can choose and that it's a pretty fun job."
Other stations included an electrician with a bucket truck, fitness trainer, accountant, golf professional, police officer, firemen with truck, an environmentalist, attorneys, museum curator and more.
With interactive games and activities at each station, the students had educational and enjoyable time learning about different career fields.
Ten-year-old Nevaeh Smith took full advantage of the fair, stopping at each and every station.
"I learned about bugs, I got to go into a police car, I learned about bicycles -- like the lights aren't just for the wheels, they are for the handles too -- I never knew that!" said Nevaeh. "I also tried golf, but I didn't hit it in the hole.
"The fair was really good and fun," said Nevaeh. "They are trying to teach kids how to be what they want to be when they grow up -- how to do it and stuff."
When asked about what her future occupation might one day be, Nevaeh wasn't sure, but knew one thing for certain.
"I just don't want to stand on my feet all day."