Children and Youth

Career Day inspires Ranch San Justo students

Professionals in various fields visit middle school to help guide kids’ future choices.
Professionals and school staff meet in library before event gets underway. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.
Firefighters Jarred Utzig, Jeff Granucci, Mike Dariano and Kenny Melin were a big hit on campus. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.

Eighth-grade students at Rancho San Justo Middle School learned about the worlds of firefighting, law, nursing and more during Career Day on Feb. 27.

“Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged,” said Jarrod Utzig with the Hollister Fire Department at the afternoon event.

Groups of students attended three of 24 sessions offered on campus for an inside look at careers in fields like social work and counseling, nutrition science and communications.

“Our students need to be exposed to other opportunities that are out there,” Principal Vickie Smith said.

Students sat attentively in each session and asked the guest speakers questions regarding job descriptions, salary, hours and level of education.

Firefighter Utzig asked students, “Do you think it would be fun to drive with lights and siren?” He answered the question himself, saying “it’s awesome.” He then discussed the seriousness of the job and the importance of teamwork within a fire station.

When former state politician Reed Sanders asked “Who wants to be rich?” every student in the classroom raised their hand. He explained the importance of working hard and the fact that they might not achieve that particular goal.

Sanders spoke of his time in the military, his time as a lawmaker and his current position as an intelligence analyst, noting that it tied back into his military training. The point, he said, was to show how connected things are and how it can be hard work.

Student Ariana Jimenez, who plans to be a NASA scientist, said she enjoyed the day because “it would inspire other people to start thinking about their career path.”

“It made me feel great to know other people feel as inspired as I do,” Jimenez said.

Student Leonardo Bribiescas, who hopes to join the Air Force “to fight for my country” said he thought Career Day was fun and informative.


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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.