South Orangetown Central School District

Fifth-grade students at Cottage Lane Elementary School engaged in virtual conversations with Tappan Zee High School alumni this week about college life, career paths and insights for planning their futures.

These opportunities were a new feature of SOCES College and Career Week, organized by Elementary School Counselor Stephanie Mueller to span both William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School. The week-long program features hands-on, interactive and creative events, lessons, and activities which introduce K-5 students to a wide variety of career paths.

Tuning in via Zoom, fifth-grade classes were introduced to alumni who shared their experiences as students in the District, post-secondary education focus, and career paths and aspirations. The participating grads, who are engaged in studies and/or working in the fields of architecture, chemistry, computer science, engineering, law and nursing, fielded questions about SOCSD courses and activities they were involved with and offered advice to students as they plan the next steps in their academic journeys.

“Career education at the elementary level is crucial and as a school counselor, I play a critical role in students’ career development by introducing them to various career paths,” said Mueller. “By providing learning and experiential opportunities for students to acquire behaviors and skills for career readiness, this helps students identify their interests, abilities, specific career clusters and post-secondary plans. I hope that throughout all of these activities, lessons and opportunities, students will begin the process of thinking about what interests them and what they want to pursue following high school. The earlier we begin this process, the more prepared our students will be.”

Thank you to our TZHS alums who volunteered their time to participate in this year’s College & Career Week virtual conversations: Erica Bello-Rodriguez (‘99), Ashley Lane-Nwokocha (‘03), Allison Lane (‘05), Alixandria Lane (‘07), Tara Mercer (‘19) and Olivia Steger (‘21).

TZHS alumnus speaks with fifth-graders