Middleboro career fair unveils next generation of professionals

May 26, 2024

MIDDLEBORO —  Although they were only fifth graders, those who presented at the Elementary Future’s Fair at the Henry B. Burkland School on Thursday, May 23 already saw themselves as young professionals. 

The fair was the culmination of a six-week curriculum that kicked off at the beginning of March with a career fair where students met professionals from different industries and learned about the variety of jobs available.

The project is part of Middleboro school system’s Future Ready initiative, a program that started to help high school students find a career path, said Director of Student Services Kevin Avitabile. By implementing this project at the elementary school level, the hope is to get kids thinking about their professional futures at an even younger age. 

“I’ve put on a lot of programs like this and this was the smoothest one. I was really pleased with how it turned out,” Avitabile said regarding Thursday’s final presentation. 

Fifth-grade teacher Taylor Soell said what impressed her most was how invested her students were in the project. So many times children say they want to be whatever their parents are, she said. With this group, however, that was not the case. 

Watching “the kids see their ability in themselves and be able to take that ability and apply it to a career” was the most rewarding part, noted Soell. “We had so many kids that started to actually see themselves in their future self.” 

One of those students was Isabella Guariglia, who wants to be an athletic director— a field she didn’t know existed until she went to the career fair. 

“I am a competitive gymnast,” she said, “and I thought: I want to do athletic things for the rest of my life and I really like to help people…” 

What she likes most about the job, she said, is the opportunity to learn about injuries and what caused them, so she can help people prevent them. Knowing that, she said, “I can warn people about what can happen,” if they are doing something that could result in an injury. 

She would also know what to do in the case of a medical emergency. “If I’m on a hike and something happens, I’ll know how to bandage and how to fix [someone] up,” she said.

Fifth grader Lily Terra sees herself becoming a marine engineer. Terra knew she wanted to be an engineer and chose the marine field because, she said, it “felt the most like me. I really like boats and working on the ocean.”

Terra spends a large portion of every summer on her grandfather’s boat down the cape. “We’ve done that every year so it’s just something really important in my life,” she stated.

The opportunity to work on a team is an aspect of the job that really appeals to her, she said. 

But while she can envision herself as a marine engineer, she knows there are parts of the job that would challenge her.  

“Everything has a time limit, so I can’t just take my time to work on things. I need to get it done. I think that would be hard for me because I don’t like being rushed, “ she admitted.

For many students, the project served as an opportunity to learn about the variety of career options there are even within the same field. 

Emmaleigh Munroe, who wants to become a horseback riding instructor, learned that there are many ways to work with horses. One of her friends wants to be a horse rescuer, she said. 

Superintendent Carolyn Lyons, who attended the fair, said a huge part of the project is “getting kids to see themselves in different careers, so that they don’t think there is one path for them and if that path doesn’t work out, that they’ve somehow missed their opportunity.”