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East Midvale students focus on career readiness

Mar 30, 2017 11:21AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Commercial pipefitter and plumber foreman Daniel Berry shows East Midvale Elementary students a pipe after he cut it during Career Day. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Gallery: East Midvale students focus on career readiness [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Julie Slama  | Julie@mycityjournals.com

Daniel Berry was found carrying a 30-pound wrench along with a bucket of tools as he entered East Midvale Elementary. He wasn’t there to fix a pipe, but rather to share with students what a commercial pipefitter and plumber foreman does.

“I have three kids who attend here and want to share how my schooling, especially math, helps me every day in my career,” he said. “I also want them to know how being a good problem-solver is important to figure things out.”

Berry and others were part of East Midvale Elementary’s career day Feb. 22 where students were asked to focus on college and career readiness, said Principal Justin Pitcher.

“We want the kids to start learning about careers in elementary school and have that message carry through in middle school and high school,” he told presenters. “We will lose about one-third of our students who will attend Hillcrest High School before graduation. We’ve learned to have great success, we need to start young. The students will remember and be impacted on what they learn today.”

Berry talked to a third-grade class, showing them how to cut and how to expand a pipe with a 90-degree angle. He shared that he works in different places and is always learning when challenges present themselves.

“I’ve worked in a crane basket, in processing plants and helped create City Creek and the Delta Center (now Vivint Smart Home Arena) when they were being built, but I also had to complete my schooling which took five years for three hours each night, three days per week. School is important because what you’re learning, you can apply to your job,” he said.

Eight-year-old Krisanna Lowry, who either wants to be an engineer or a paleontologist, appreciated Berry’s presentation.

“I learned about the tools he used and how certain pipes are used for different places,” Krisanna said. “I liked when he cut with the tools and it made a pop. It’s good to know about so when I grow up, I’ll have an idea of what to do and maybe some of what I’ve learned will help me in my work.”

Keeping students engaged in school and learning their passion for careers is why Canyons School District hosts career days, said Cher Burbank, work-based facilitator.

“We want students to look around their community and explore careers and have a variety to learn about,” she said.

Work-based Learning Lead Pat Wetzel adds, “You’ll never know what will stick.”

Third-grader Sadie Booth liked seeing a firefighter presentation.

“My grandpa was a firefighter, but he doesn’t talk about it much,” Sadie said. “I learned what the firefighter does, how he has to be careful, what he watches out for, and how it’s important to listen to your parent so they can help keep you safe. It’s something I can talk to my grandpa about. I also learned that we have to work hard and try to get better at tests since you need to take those for all kinds of jobs.”

West Valley City paramedic and firefighter Corby Carter told the students that he needed schooling in how to be an emergency medical technician as well as a firefighter.

“We had to take lots of tests, and I tried to get better on them every time,” he said. “It’s a competitive field.”

He told students about some of the equipment he uses from the jaws of life to chain saws to thermal imagining to hoses that can pump 1,200 gallons of water per minute.

“We have some cool tools we use, but for those, we need lots of school,” he said.

ARUP lab technician Kathryn Gutke demonstrated to students some of the tools she uses in her career in the medical technology field.

“We can separate red blood cells from plasma and test it to see if the person has a chronic or recent exposure to lead, which will help the doctors treat the patients better,” she said. “Blood is like a storybook and every collection of blood can tell a chapter in the patient’s heart, liver, pancreas and brain. Chemistry is really cool when you’re able to find an answer to help someone.”

Gutke said that reading and math is critical in her job in clinical chemistry.

“I need to understand what I’m reading and I’m always using addition, subtraction and division,” she said.

Third-grader William Pollock said that although he’d rather be a police officer than a medical technician, they have similarities.

“We’ll both be trying to help people, only I’ll be helping people stop making bad choices while she’s trying to protect people from having something bad happen to their bodies,” he said. “I liked how she showed us how she is able to get blood samples. That was really cool. She also told us that we need to be really good at learning in school because school can teach you what you’re supposed to do to help other people.”

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