It has become a Lincoln Academy tradition for eleventh graders get oriented for their junior year with Career Day. On this day professionals from the community come to the LA campus to discuss their careers as a large group, and then in smaller breakout sessions that students sign up for according to their interests.
Many of the speakers have connections to Lincoln Academy: they are current and former parents, recent alumni, colleagues of faculty members, and coaches. Others are community members who agree to come in when a class expresses interest in their particular field.
Matt Leland is a Lincoln Academy chemistry teacher and the Faculty team leader for the junior class. He planned Career Day for the current class of LA juniors. “The 2019 advisor team is very grateful to all of our volunteer speakers,” Leland said after the event. “Our students are often exposed to teaching and the careers of their parents, but rarely get to hear about other professions from the people in them. We rely on volunteers to take time out of their busy lives to share their experiences with students.”
This year’s panel of speakers was diverse and offered juniors a wide range of career expertise to choose from.
Tom Abbott, father of Lincoln Academy’s Dean of Students, Jake Abbott, came with his colleague and his UMaine Augusta colleague Colonel Greg Jolda to speak about manned and unmanned aviation. Both gentlemen have a BS in aviation, a degree, which, Abbott explained, is the first step towards becoming an airline pilot or exploring one of the other myriad career opportunities in aviation.
Students were interested in careers in engineering and construction had several presentations to choose from. Speakers included surveyor and LA parent Mark Dauite and contractor Richard Cash, who discussed running your own business in the fields of contracting and surveying. Larry Bartlett, a local electrical engineer who was part of the design and construction of the Alumni Dining Commons, came to talk about engineering. He told students, “there is a wide array of careers in engineering: I will talk today about what you can do in that kind of career, and what is fun about it.”
Local entrepreneur Bernie DeLisle spoke about starting your own business. He said, “I counted last night, and I have run 17 small businesses starting in 1972, including retail, construction, restaurant, manufacturing. I can tell you about the challenges and rewards of starting something yourself.”
Many students were interested in careers in health care. LA Athletic trainer Megan DeRaps, spoke about the field of athletic training, which she described as the “assessment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.” Nurse practitioner Bonnie Rademacher-Flis, pediatrician JoAnn Kaplan, local nurse and LA graduate Heather Harris, and Orthopedic Surgery PA Brooke Perez spoke about working in medicine and nursing.
Mia Feltis, the owner of local salon Mia’s Shear Perfection, spoke to students about a career in cosmetology, and she brought an array of visual examples to demonstrate the variety of work involved in cosmetology and opening a small business.
Seth Blodgett, whose wife Cindy Blodgett is a long time LA staff member, spoke about law enforcement. Blodgett works in Maine attorney general’s office and has 34 years in law enforcement. He spoke to students about various careers in law enforcement.
Amy Tolsky is a professional actress, who was born in Chicago, and worked in London for many years as an actress in theater, film, and television. “We reached out to Ms. Tolsky, who is a friend of a friend, because many students expressed an interest in hearing more about acting as a career,” said junior advisor and science teacher Betsy Grannis, who hosted the Skype call to Tolsky in her classroom.
Junior Kayleigh Tolley attended the session, and commented, “Skyping and getting to talk with actress Amy Tolsky, I learned about the challenges that come with everyday life as a performing artist, but also the amazing rewards and opportunities that come when you learn to put yourself out there and stretch the limits of what you can do as a human.”
Overall, students walked away with plenty to think about. “Career day provides an enlightening opportunity to explore future occupational possibilities,” said junior Bryce York.
“I was amazed to find out just how many opportunities are out there, even through just one field of work,” said Sam Russ, “and I know that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I really look forward to continuing to explore all the options I have for a career.”