Wapakoneta Middle School students heard Wednesday from a panel of five people during the school’s annual Career Day.
Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office deputy Sam Blank along with Wapakoneta attorney Courtney Burton and Kurt Hegemier, owner of Hegemier Tires, spoke about their jobs, what a typical day might be like and what to do to prepare for a career in their respective fields.
Wapakoneta High School senior Karli Sammons also discussed the high school experience and what students can expect in high school and Wapakoneta High School 2012 graduate Conner Metz, who just completed his first year of college at Miami University, talked about the college experience.
The junior high to high school transition is scary for many, Sammons said, advising the students that time management is one of the better skills to acquire as they transition to high school.
“You study a lot more,” Sammons said. “You need to consider how you want to be remembered as a student. Figure out your own study methods and don’t get overwhelmed. Take time to stop and smell the roses.”
Metz said going to college is often learning to manage free time and picking the right place to go.
“I always thought I would go to Ohio State (University),” Metz said. “I went and took a look at Miami and it offered me a better path financially. I can remember some nights spending three or four hours sitting in a library just studying for a test.”
Blank, who is the Auglaize County DARE officer as well as being a volunteer EMT and firefighter, told students they should research possible career choices and choose their classes wisely.
“Take advantage of what classes are offered and think of how you may channel it into what you may want to do,” Blank said. “I took Spanish class and later on was able to use it to get information from someone who was arrested that didn’t speak English. Computers and technology are now very important, too.
Hegemier talked about building a business plan and developing skills to run a successful business.
“You have to have the skills to motivate those around you,” Hegemier said. “You have to have a good working atmosphere.”
With many children expressing a possible interest in the automotive industry, Hegemier suggested learning to do small things on your own to get used to a vehicle.
“Change your own oil,” Hegemier said. “Change your tires when they need to be changed. Get your feet wet and do whatever you can.”
Burton said it was important to keep good grades, which is a key to keeping your options open later in life.
“It’s hard in middle school to know what you are going to do,” Burton said. “Work hard and always do your best.”
Burton explained about law school generally being a seven-year quest. She said reading and writing were important skills to have in being a lawyer.
“The best part of the job is the variety,” Burton said. “People come in and tell you their problems and you have to think of a way you can help them solve their problem.”
The rest of the time was spent on a question and answer forum, with questions ranging from, “What is the most important thing to succeed in high school?” from Tate Kohler, to “Is it hard to be away from family and friend while in college” from Mariah Hicks.
Other questions at members of the panel included “Have you ever tazed or pepper-sprayed someone?” aimed at Blank, “How do you deal with rude customers?” for Hegemier, “What is the starting salary for a lawyer?” for Burton.
Middle School student Josiah Schroer said he learned some important pointers in preparing for the transition from middle school to high school.
“I learned I have to save time,” Schroer said. “It was pretty cool.”
He said listening to Blank caused him to consider a career in law enforcement someday.
Josilyn Wells said she wants to possibly go into veterinary medicine.
“I have two older brothers so I have been able to see some of the transition,” Wells said, “but it was interesting to hear about the advanced placement classes and scheduling your school classes.”