South Orangetown Central School District

More than a dozen South Orangetown alumni, parents and community members shared their career pathways with students this morning as part of the South Orangetown Middle School’s brand-new Career Day event.

“We are excited to launch our first Career Day and are looking forward to developing more opportunities to connect students with potential career interests,” said Principal Chad Corey, Ed.D.

Career Day panelists described their jobs, the skills and qualifications required and what inspired them to pursue the occupations they had chosen. They also discussed the diversity of experiences available within their professions. Several speakers noted that their careers developed from strengths and interests that they had in middle school although they may not have known what they wanted to do until they entered college. All encouraged students to find something that they enjoy doing and responded to questions ranging from how pilots manage jet lag to the largest projects tackled (asked of the engineers and the pastry chef).

Engineer Dennis McNerney, who got his start building sets for his school’s stage crew, advised, “Take every opportunity that comes to you. You learn something and it’ll lead you to what you want to do and what you don’t want to do.”

“I was not good at school,” acknowledged New York Times bestselling author Jeanine Cummins. “I didn’t discover that I was smart until I got to college. I didn’t realize when I was your age that this was something you could do as a job. I’m here to tell you that you can.”

College, career and civic readiness is one of the four key goals for all South Orangetown schools, in alignment with the New York State Every Student Succeeds Act indicators. At the middle school level, the focus is on providing students with opportunities to explore their interests, be exposed to a variety of vocations and learn about the educational pathways to different careers.

A heartfelt thank you to the inaugural SOMS Career Day guest speakers who volunteered their time today: Richard Bertoli (Private Pilot), Jessica Brennan (Talent Manager), Jeanine Cummins (Author), Christopher Giannetti (Law Enforcement), Adolfo Godinez (Educator), Leon Jacobs (Engineer), Zakk Karrazzi (Cyber Security Professional), Kerry McCarthy (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist), Dennis McNerney (Engineer), Amy Nowak-Palmerini (Architect), Jorli Pena (Entrepreneur), Rob Schreiber (Baker/Pastry Chef) and Adam Sietz (Actor).

Career Day panelist speaks at SOMS student assembly