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‘Career readiness starts in kindergarten,’ and young Knights are on their way

First career fair at Zinser Elementary brings in local pros

Kenowa Hills — First-grader Logan Myers confidently declared his future plans at Zinser Elementary’s career fair. 

“I already have my career picked out. It’s going to be (at) Cold Stone (Creamery) or McDonalds,” he said. “But so far Cold Stone is winning because I love their ice cream.”

Zinser recently hosted its first career fair to encourage students to think about what path they might want to pursue when they grow up.

Students spoke with local professionals including a flight attendant, chef, real estate agent, nurse, piano teacher, librarian, veterinarian, police officer and more. Each presenter’s table had a sign indicating their career field: medical, human services, communication arts, business, agriculture or technology

Younger students traveled between tables with their career fair passports to get at least one sticker from all six career paths. Fourth- and fifth-graders came equipped with questions to ask presenters about their jobs.

The lineup of tables also included Zinser parent volunteers, Kenowa Hills School Resource Officer Deputy Emily Bishop, other members of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and a School News Network reporter. 

When asked to describe the role of a journalist, first-grader Hannah Taber told this reporter, “They report on the weather, the news and what’s going on.” 

Fifth-grader Brooklyn Buskard said she wants to be a journalist or write about sports for the news when she got older. 

Preparing for College, Career and Life

Brooke Davis, Kenowa Hills’ director of diversity, equity and mental health services, helped lead the planning for Zinser’s career fair. She said the goal was to inspire and educate students about various career paths aligning with the district’s Profile of a Graduate

Developed by students, parents, community members and educators, the profile captures the social and emotional skills identified as most important for all Kenowa Hills graduates.

The profile includes five categories of skills — empowered learner, complex thinker and problem solver, responsible collaborator, impactful citizen and skilled communicator — that the district deems necessary for K-12 learners to be prepared for success in college, career and life. 

“Career readiness starts in kindergarten, even with our K-Knight (young 5’s) students,” Davis said. “One of the ways we do that is to start exposing them to different careers early on.” 

Davis explained how the career fair provided opportunities for students to practice shaking hands and asking questions about jobs and careers they might be interested in.

“We want to break (Profile of a Graduate) down into something students can understand at every grade level,” she said. “They have lessons in their classrooms to prepare to meet people in their community (who) work in different fields and see what they love to do.”

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
Freshman academic aims to harness skills, power of community
Becoming Knights who know nutrition

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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