Never too early to think about a career

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

For Colt Potter and Dalton Laney, fifth graders at Hugh Gallagher Elementary School in Virginia City, their career choice is easy - they want to be on a police SWAT team some day.

"They carry a lot of weapons and fight crime and keep people safe," Colt said.

Dalton, 11, who hopes to start hunting next year, also was impressed with the weapons: "You get to shoot 12-gauges and guns," he said.

The two were among more than 150 children from preschool through ninth grade attending a career day event in Miner's Park in Virginia City on Thursday attended by 28 business and government professionals.

Students from a Comstock preschool, Hugh Gallagher Elementary School, Virginia City Middle School, the freshman class of Virginia City High School and a group of students from Fremont Elementary School in Carson City participated in the event.

Lorene Gomez, a Storey County parent, and Michele VanVorst, Hugh Gallagher Elementary principal, put together the event, in hopes of not only lifting the students' goals but encouraging community involvement in the schools.

Exhibitors included the Storey County Sheriff and Fire departments, Sierra Pacific, Trader Joe's, R&R Iron Works, El Dorado County Sheriff K-9 Unit, Community Chest, Chili's, U.S. Marine Corps, music sound technician Glen Defebaugh, Nevada State Parks, and the Desert Research Institute.

Kids got to wear and hold police equipment, see how much sugar is in different products at nutritionist Christy Hess's table, and learn about being a dispatcher from Rachel Smiley of the county communications center.

There was a nurse, hair stylist, and a GPS specialist trying to inspire students to think of their futures.

Every eight minutes a group of 10 or so students changed from one career table to another at the sound of school district employee Penny Kiechler's air horn.

The most popular table was Sheriff Jim Miller's, where kids got to wear a flak jacket, handle a battering ram, sit in a restraint chair and get into a paddy wagon, actually an old ambulance refitted to become a prisoner transport truck.

"If I had to do it all over, I would still be in law enforcement," Miller told the students. "It's fun, and you get to meet all kinds of people."

He reminded the girls that law enforcement also was an option for them.

"Women absolutely do belong on the streets patrolling with the men," he said. "It's important to have females in addition to males."

Fifth grader Nikala McPartlin was interested in law enforcement, but preferred the K-9 option.

"It just sounds exciting and it's lifesaving," she said.

Pete Renaud of R&R Ironworks told the students they could make upward of $80,000 a year at his job, though he told them, "it's hard work, it's very hard and dangerous."

Jason Turner, a VCHS freshman said the event didn't include a booth on his chosen profession Ð carpentry. "I enjoy working with wood and building things," he said.


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