Sunday, May 30, 1999

World of work

Editor at Large

The Gleaner is in for some tough competition out at Spottsville School.

As part of Career Day last week, fifth-graders put together front pages of a new newspaper called sequentially "Good Morning Spottsville" and "The Spottsville Times."

A page-wide headline read, "Spottsville Wins Big in Field Day Contest." Another story told about "Sixth-Graders Tour Land Between Lakes, See Grizzly." Other items included a story about a teacher having surgery and a student winning an award. Two students sketched a drawing of the Field Day event on the blackboard.

The most fun for me was hearing how fifth-graders viewed the future.

One boy said he was going to be a radiologist and a professional soccer player.

A girl vowed that she would become a neurosurgeon and a monster truck driver.

Another student liked the idea of becoming a nurse or a veterinarian.

And yet another, concerned about his grandparents' state of health, vowed that he wanted to find a cure to cancer. He also wanted to become a professional basketball player.

Lynn Dawson and Glenn Ridley, Spottsville guidance counselors, arranged a full day of career "planning" for 400 students from kindergarten to grade six. Twenty speakers, among them an optometrist, geologist and taxidermist, were invited. All showed up, and each made a 30-minute presentation. Later, students went outside to inspect a fire truck, ambulance and police vehicles.

Dr. Sally Fife, optometrist, talked about setting goals.

"The children asked a lot of questions and were very interested in learning about their eyes," she said. "I told them that whatever job they might seek ought to be a kind of work that they enjoyed.

"In my work, each day is different from the day before."

The world of work is changing. Dr. Fife remembers that there were only eight women out of 100 entering students at the University of Houston when she began to study optometry. In 1999, the division between male and female is closer to 50-50.

Brad Lipsey, landscape architect, brought his computer to class and suggested that the students landscape around the teacher's house.

"The students and I sat in a semicircle. I placed the computer on a desk, and we just started designing. "

Darrell Mason, owner of Mason's Wildlife Taxidermy Studio, hosted kindergarten pupils, who were fascinated with the art of taxidermy.

"I sat down in one of their chairs, showed them pictures of mounted animals, and talked about how you put in glass eyes and fill the animal with foam. With a deer, about all you have to work with is skin and antlers.

"The best part of the talk was when one of the children came up and gave me a hug. Then all of the children hugged me. That made it all worthwhile. I hope I'm asked again to participate."

Winding up Career Day activities were two musical performances.

Keith and Gary Vincent played the guitar and sang. Keith told the students how his interest in music had led to his career as band director.

Kate Lackey spoke to the students, encouraging them to set and stick to their goals. Then she sang, "When You Wish Upon a Star."

Guest speakers included Darrell Watkins and Steve Martin, photographers; Don Boarman, Audubon Museum curator; David Williams, geologist; Kyle Maple, Monsanto Corp.; Carl Billings, taxidermist; Tim Hall, Alcan; Dr. Nancy Duguay, dentist; Penny Gibson, nurse; Kim Blandford, nurse assistant; Mayor John Hoffman; Jeremy Smithhart, ambulance driver; Angela Jones, state trooper; Jenni Rickey, city police; and Ron Rhodes, Fox 7 meteorologist.

My thanks to Leslie Farley and Sara Ridley for being my escorts and helping me with my material. And a special salute to all of the people at Spottsville School. All I saw were smiles and friendly faces.

What a day!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Contact Walt Dear by mail at 100 Horseshoe Drive, Henderson, Ky. 42420 or by e-mail at

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