Today was a very successful Career Day at Weston High School. I highly recommend the concept to other high schools — if you have a dedicated, highly organized team of people to take care of all the logistics. People who have served on the Local Arrangements committee for conferences and conventions will know what I’m talking about, but others might not realize how daunting it all is.
We started with a plenary session in which Alec Sulkin delivered the keynote address and Odds Bodkin provided entertainment. Actually, and fittingly, the keynote address was definitely entertaining as well as being educational, and the entertainment also had an educational component. Sulkin is a writer and supervising producer for Family Guy, so it came as no surprise that his talk was both engaging and amusing. Bodkin is a musical story-teller who is great at what he does, but unfortunately what he does isn’t a great match for a teenage audience. Sulkin’s talk, not surprisingly, is just right for a teenage audience — at least in their eyes. Adults may disagree.
Anyway, after the plenary, we split up into a couple of hundred breakout sessions. (As I say, the organization of this event was a staggering achievement.) Each student was assigned to four out of five sessions (to allow time for lunch); they made selections ahead of time, and they got their choices except if a session was full and the student had neglected to select alternates. If you read the descriptions of the speakers, you will see the huge variety offered. Here are excerpts, with one description randomly chosen from each of the five umbrella areas:
- The Arts
- When she was 25, Hilary Price was the youngest woman ever to have a syndicated daily comic strip. Her strip, Rhymes With Orange, appears in 150 newspapers internationally, and locally in The Boston Globe. Rhymes With Orange won Best Cartoon Panel last year from The National Cartoonists’ Society.
- This speaker is currently in marketing/sales of high tech multiplexers, routers, WAN, LAN and IP Telephony. But, it’s the way he got there that matters. He has been a substitute high school teacher, worked for a private detective, in a textile mill in Maine, in a furniture store and a phone company and owned a bar. This speaker will give you perspective that there are many opportunities for you, not just one path to success.
- What is it like to work on innovative product development for iTunes, iPods or the present Macintosh product line? What does it take to be part of a company that encourages employees to spin off other companies and lead with innovation? This speaker, an account manager in the higher education channel, will discuss the variety of jobs at Apple Computer including sales, marketing, product development and technical support in the field. Discussion on Campus Rep jobs that are also available when you attend college so you can get an early look at life working at Apple will also be presented.
- Jill Downing is a cardiologist who practices at Boston Medical Center in Boston’s South End. She is interested in preventive cardiology which involves working with patients to identify and modify heart disease risk factors. Currently she spends her time with clinical research at BMC. Her career in health care began as a registered nurse working in such diverse settings as Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Boston. Her experience highlights some of the challenges faced by the aspiring medical professional in terms of balancing career and family demands.
- Social Services
- Alan Solomont has been a community organizer and an entrepreneur. He is a veteran of six presidential campaigns and teaches a college course on the American presidency. He is a philanthropist and trained to be a registered nurse. He is proof that a career need not follow a straight line, and that there are many ways to make a difference.
OK, so you may disagree with what goes under the Crafts category. And we note that some speakers chose to include their name within their brief bios, and others didn’t, but all the names are on the website. It was definitely a fine day. Of course it helps to have the kinds of connections found in a community like Weston.