Students learn about various careers

Boulevard Elementary School fifth-graders visit the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce in Gloversville with teacher Kim Miller during career day on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Boulevard Elementary School students were encouraged to follow their passions to one day choose a career while visiting downtown businesses and city offices during Fifth-Grade Career Day.

For the third straight year, groups of fifth-grade students made their way around the city accompanied by teachers and chaperones on Tuesday to learn firsthand about career options from downtown business owners and professionals at 15 locations.

“There’s no better way to learn about the world of work, careers and business than being in the world where it happens,” Boulevard Elementary School Counselor Susan Grossi explained. “It’s going to leave a lasting image that we’re hoping will spark their imaginations.”

At Romano Acro Dance Academy, owner Jessica Romano explained to students how she turned her passion for dance into a business.

“From the age of three I’ve danced,” Romano said, explaining that during her training she served as a student teacher. Later on, Romano attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College where she studied business before she ultimately combined the two distinct educations to open the dance studio.

“School is important,” Romano said, noting that she learned the essentials of bookkeeping and running a business at FMCC.

Now she tries to instill the importance of academics and hard work to her dance students, requiring that they maintain good grades in school in order to participate.

“As long as you work hard anything is possible,” Romano said.

Further up North Main Street, Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market volunteer Robin Lair explained how the co-op is different from other stores.

“We sell food like other stores, but most of our products are made locally,” Lair said. “When you buy locally you’re helping your friends and neighbors support their businesses.”

Lair showed the students some of the packaged goods available at the market, noting that many of the items are purchased in bulk before they are packaged for sale at the co-op.

“We weigh it on a scale and price it according to the weight,” Lair said. “So if you like math you might like working in a co-op.”

Lair led the students around the market showing them how their skills and interests could help them in each area like the backroom where the ability to maintain a tidy bedroom and an eye for organization might lead to a career in logistics or the manager’s office where a knack for computers could lead to a career managing a store.

After learning about the many job options at the local shop, the students made their way to the Fulton County Barbershop where owner Michael Medina was putting the finishing touches on a young boy’s fresh haircut.

“Welcome to Fulton County Barbershop where magic happens,” Medina said, scissors in hand. “See this kids’ smile? That’s why I love my job.”

As he turned the chair around showing the students the shape of a shark cut into the boy’s hair, Medina reminded the children that they’re currently learning some of the basic skills needed to give someone a unique haircut in art class.

When asked by the students how he got so good at cutting hair, Medina answered, “I got good by messing up a lot.”

“In the beginning when I first started cutting hair it was so hard. It’s just like anything else that is hard, I had to learn and learn. Sometimes it didn’t come out as good as I wanted it to, but with practice if you really want to get good at something then eventually you get good.”

Crossing the street with the help of a city police officer on bicycle patrol, the students made their way to the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce where Tourism Director Gina DaBiere-Gibbs explained how she found her career by following her interests.

“When I was in high school I didn’t know what I wanted to be,” DaBiere-Gibbs said. “I was interested in going places and learning new things.”

“When I was looking at colleges I said to myself, ‘well I like to travel,’ so I started looking at schools that had travel services, because that was an actual major.”

She ultimately studied travel and tourism at the State University of New York at Delhi where she received her associate’s degree before attending the Rochester Institute of Technology where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

DaBiere-Gibbs said she developed a background in technology in college that along with creativity she uses in her current position developing marketing on tourism in the two counties which takes her to new places.

“Anything you’re interested in these days there is probably a [college] major for,” DaBiere-Gibbs emphasized.

By Patricia Older

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