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Midvale Journal

Career days help shape future of elementary students

May 07, 2024 03:59PM ● By Julie Slama

Trent Labrum talks to students at Midvalley Elementary’s career day. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Brittany Gharring met James Blake while working on “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse.”

As a celebrity makeup artist, she did his hair and makeup. Her services have been used for other celebrities, from Disney and Marvel productions to Nike and Kroger campaigns.

It’s a career that has taken her from Los Angeles to New York, but it started 20 years ago with a skill she learned at school. She now chooses Utah to raise her family; her kids attend Oak Hollow Elementary in Draper.

“I learned a skill and developed it to take it to where my career is now,” she told students at Oak Hollow’s career day. “Find your passion, your inspiration and start learning about it.”

She was one of hundreds of career day speakers at Canyons School District’s elementary schools’ career days, which dotted the calendar throughout the school year. 

Most, like Gharring, were parents invited by their students to share expertise in their field, said work-based learning facilitator Jared Vincent, who helped coordinate the career days in 27 elementary schools.

“It’s important to start planning early so they can be college and career ready; they may choose to learn a trade or attend a vocational school,” he said.

Interior designer Candice Marsh spoke to Midvalley Elementary students in Midvale.

“I took art classes in school and use those skills all the time,” she said to students. “I use math when I measure and draw a design to scale. I need to communicate with my customers. I’ve been mostly doing residential houses, like the ones we live in, but now, I’m in school as I want to do commercial or design for hotels. You can always keep learning.”

She gave first-grade students a challenge. Each student received a piece of material and instruction to design a room around that color. It gave them a chance to be creative and apply skills they’re learning in school.

In a kindergarten classroom, Trent Labrum pointed out the router in the classroom and explained his career.

“I’m a superhero of the internet,” he said. “I work on stuff behind the Wi-Fi to connect you to the internet, and I put up safety guards to keep the bad guys away. I use my computer to do good things.”

Kindergarten teacher Kylie Falke said not only does it help their “brains to start thinking about careers they may want someday, but it also ties into learning about our communities and people who work in it. They’re learning that the reading and math they’re doing now could someday be built upon the careers and skills they’ll do in the future.”

Metal grinder Trevor Woodford, who has two children at Sandy’s Peruvian Park, talked to a class and told them that he fabricates new tools “that nobody else makes.”

“It can be challenging and creative to make something useful out of nothing,” he told students—most, who were learning about the career for the first time. 

Talking to a class nearby was filmmaker Dan Kettle, who’s first job was to make a video for a friend’s restaurant in trade for food.

“My camera has taken me to some cool places from Hawaii to Ghana,” he said. “Well, maybe not my first camera anymore. It fell into the ocean during a boat tour, but I dove in to save it.”

He walked students through writing scripts in preproduction, talked about the excitement that comes during filming and then editing where he “brings it all together with the best takes.”

Down the hall, Rivka Wilkins shared her work as an artist and graphic designer with students. They oohed and aahed when she showed them her Northern Lights artwork and were intrigued when she explained her technique.

Wilkins explained that while she loves blending colors, she also has a business mindset. That is a concept she wanted students to understand.

“As my own business owner, I do the marketing, the pricing and work with my 2,000 serious clients,” said the Instagrammer who has about 275,000 followers. “If I do nothing, I don’t get any sales. Then, my art isn’t shared.” λ