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From Astronaut to Zoologist, Pennington Students Dress for the Professions they Dream of

Students at career day

Students at Pennington School may have to wait a few years before they start the careers they dream about. But last week, they got to dress the parts.

On National Career Development Day, Nov. 17, they came dressed as police officers, nurses, a zoologist, a chef, a veterinarian and an astronaut. And many others.

Third-grade student Isabella Thompson wants to be a swimmer, and also a role model to show others they can succeed. Sporting an Olympic medal, she said, “I like swimming a lot and I want kids to be like me when they grow up.”

Victor Miranda not only aspires to be a chef; he already makes a great breakfast with sunny side up eggs and cooks with his mother. He enjoys making specialties from his Puerto Rican heritage – pernil and arroz con gandules.

Kindergarten student Jasmine Lee plans to be an astronaut “so I can go to the moon and see what the moon looks like.” She wants to be in space, which she said is “dark and bright at the same time.”

November is also National Career Development Month, and school counselor Bianca Gentile has been stoking the students’ thoughts about their possibilities and goals. She had the youngest students write down places they’ll go and what they want to be. Grades 3 through 5 filled out a basic resume and the upper grades took Naviance career surveys. While not every student came dressed as a professional today, Gentile chatted with many who did not dress up about their plans.

Activities for the career-oriented month are part of the Mount Vernon City School District’s comprehensive school guidance curriculum. Having students think about their strengths helps them build their identity and “to showcase positive aspects of themselves,” Gentile said.

Many students were reaching for differing vocations for the same reason – they want to help people. That’s why first grader Anastasia Gangoo wants to be a nurse and why at least two students want to be police officers – first grader Daniel Sandoval and third grader Jayden Reinersten. Zohara Wilson, a third grader, wants to be a teacher because she enjoys helping her teacher now, and also helps her younger sister with schoolwork. Pre-kindergartener Connor Byrne wants to be a zoologist to help animals.

But why aspire to only one career? Third grader Julio Taylor came dressed as a businessman, with a suit and briefcase, because he likes to work with people. But he also wants to be a lawyer because it pays well, and a rapper “because I could entertain people.”

Madison Cotto came dressed as a veterinarian, but hopes to pursue several paths, including a painter and singer. But the third grader wants to start by joining the armed forces.

“I’d love to be part of the military because they fight for the country,” she said.

Students at career day