Dunbarton Students Get Glimpse into the World of Work

Posted On Tuesday April 05, 2022
working wednesdays
Noyz-Canadian author, rapper, spoken word artist Jenn Smith Dunbarton High School teacher, Elaine Knoxx Pickering Public Library, Matthew Wagner Pickering Public Library, Clair Story Dunbarton High School teacher.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That is the question students at Dunbarton High School in Pickering are pondering as they listen to a variety of professionals from all walks of life in the world of work discussing their career during a monthly program called Working Wednesdays.

Working Wednesdays is a virtual program started last school year by teachers Aimee Nelson and Karen Papadopoulos and has been running on the last Wednesday of every month for students Grades 9-12.

“We have been having virtual meetings with a wide variety of people from the community so that we can show students a variety of careers and how often it is not straightforward to get to a particular career,” says Papadopoulos Head Librarian and Co-op Teacher at the school.

“Through personal contacts we have found people who are passionate about their job. Our guests talk about how they got to their current position sharing their educational background, previous jobs, the pros, and cons of their job and answer a ton of student questions.”

Seema Patel, a Senior Director, News Programs with CBC attended a recent Working Wednesdays with students. "I loved it! I think it is so important to give students time to hear about different jobs as they begin their high school years. It will help them pick their courses, possibly consider new career paths,” says Patel. “Its wonderful staff make the time to give students this opportunity and exposure to people in their community."

Andy Sue, a local Florist also sees the benefits of Working Wednesday. "I think it is a wonderful program. I wish this was available when I was in high school,” states Sue.

“To be able to hear what it is like in the real world regarding different jobs is beneficial, especially for students who might be doubtful about what is out there post secondary. I was very happy to be able to talk about what I do and the journey I took to get where I am today. To be able to engage with the youth of today also helps me to better understand what is going on in their minds too."

Grade 12 students Davina and Corey regularly attend the program and are pleased with the insights shared by professionals.

"Working Wednesday opens up many paths for high school students. It shows them real life examples of career experiences. It opens their eyes to many careers they may be interested in but didn't know about," says Davina.

"Working Wednesdays allows us to de-stress. I look forward to them as they are entertaining and bring the school closer as a community," states Corey.

Working Wednesdays has six Google Meets running simultaneously with teachers choosing a session for their class to login and learn. A recent Wednesday welcomed a Real Estate agent, a Florist, a television Senior Director of News/Programs, a Community Health Service Manager, a Rapper and a Plumber.

Each month sees a line up of a wide range of speakers sharing stories about their career, their education and the path that led to where they are today. Between 400-800 students participate asking questions of their guests regularly.

Community members who are interested in participating can reach out to the school if they are passionate about their careers and would like to participate.