By JEROD CLAPP
Emerson Lowe tended the rhino first, but once that was taken care of, he met with a group of students to tell them all about his job as a zookeeper.
The 8-year-old was sharing his research with his peers at Jonathan Jennings Elementary School’s job fair, part of Greater Clark County Schools’ College Go! week.
Anne Cage, a second-grade teacher at the school, said students had to look up what kind of training they would need for different careers, but didn’t realize there were so many options.
“As we were talking about different jobs, they didn’t know what was out there,” Cage said. “They really thought there were just a few jobs, but it gives them lots of new ideas.”
Lowe said to become a zookeeper, he’d have to do a lot of cleaning up after animals as well as earn a four-year college degree. But he said he thought it would be worth it.
“I like animals and I’ve always wanted to be a zookeeper,” Lowe said. “It sounds like fun.”
Cage said students would present to the whole school, both younger and older students.
She said the idea of sharing the importance of life after school is needed, no matter which direction kids think they want to go in now and whether they change their minds or not.
“You’re always talking about it, from kindergarten on,” Cage said. “Doing the job fair and talking about college helps give them a purpose as to why they’re going to school.”
Jillian Richardson, another second-grade teacher at the school, said students also had to research other details like what kind of tools they might use on the job and to come in dressed for their career during their presentations.
She said while college life seems really far away for her young students, they still get an idea of what life is like once they “graduate” from the job fair.
“I think a lot of times, they get that motivation and show a lot of effort with this,” Richardson said. “We try to give them real-life applications in class to what skills they would need for any given job.”
Nancy Smith said her daughter, Taylor, was showing other students what it was like and what it took to become a veterinarian. She said she’s glad to see the school promote furthering the education of students, even after they get their high school diplomas.
“I want her to know that’s why she needs to go — it’ll help her have a a better quality of life,” Smith said. “It’s not really an option to not go to college.”