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Meteorologist? Business owner? Investor? Students explore careers


Eighth-grader Kaleb Witte has already started dreaming about his future. “I am thinking about being a probation office and have looked into going to a police academy,” he said.

But listening to Ernie Ostuno, a National Weather Service, during Kent City Middle and High School’s Career Day was a highlight for Kaleb. “But some careers (we are hearing about) seem kind of nice and some really didn’t interest me. But being a meteorologist is something I’d look into and have talked about.”

Gabby Zobel, local small business owner, shares her story

Forecasting the weather is exciting but tough, Ostuno told students. “You need to take a look at what’s out there now, what’s happened before and put it all together,” he said. “It can really be stressful because of the unpredictability of the atmosphere.”

Math and science skills are important in meteorology, said Ostuno, as he drew graphs on a whiteboard, to show how to determine the most likely path of a storm.

Director of Student Services Jeff Wilson said bringing in professionals from various careers is valuable.. “Career Day events are critical to our students being able to learn what employability skills employers are looking for. It also gives them a glimpse of what certain careers are like, and the skills necessary to be successful in that particular career.”

Students interested in business learned about being both a small business owner or big business tycoon.

Gabby Zobel, who purchased the local Kent City barber shop just two years ago, participated in Career day because “our kids are our future, and we need to invest in what we want them and Kent City to be.”

Ernie Ostuno, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, tells students what they need to know to become a weather forecaster

Zobel shared her life story, with examples of how she balances work with home life. Questions from the students prompted information on how many haircuts are needed to pay the bills.

“I was very impressed by their questions and there was a lot of good interaction,” said Zobel.

Local investor Troy Rice offered students a more technical approach to the day, explaining cash flow and the differences between an employee, self employed person, business owner and investor. He organized student teams for practice in “selling” a product or idea.

Even for those undecided on a career, the day offered something. “I know that a lot of people in college change their mind on what they want to do, but it is good to know what is available,”  said eighth-grader Lilli Berg. “I really enjoy hearing about the different things people do, even if I have no interest in doing it.”

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Career Day Aims to ‘Light a Fire’ for School and Beyond

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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