New possibilities

JMS students learn about different options during Career Day

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Students in Anna Linde’s classroom got a sneak peak at their new school last week.

Architects from LSW, who are designing the replacement Jemtegaard Middle School, participated in career day activities last week.

They brought posterboard with realistic renderings of what the new, two-story school would look like, as well as other designs and official documents.

Students in sixth through eighth grade cycled through the classroom to hear Kristina Walsh-Daarud and her husband, Chadwick Daarud, discuss their jobs and the qualifications as architects.

It was just one of the many different jobs represented at career day, which ranged from a yoga instructor to drone manufacturer. Many of the participants are from Washougal or Camas, or have a business in the area.

“I really enjoy this event because it opens the kids’ eyes to the possibilities beyond their normal, everyday life,” Linde said. “They get to learn what people do for a living and the different paths they take to get there.”

The chatter in the room turned silent as the Darruds informed the sixth-graders that they would get to attend the new school, expected to open in the fall of 2017.

Eighth-grader Mathias Hight enjoyed learning that one doesn’t have to be a good artist to be an architect.

“I also liked how we were able to look at the new school because our current school is really lame,” he said. “It was interesting to see all of the designs and paperwork they had to go through.”

Eighth-grader Grace Jacobsen said before she attended the presentation, she thought an architect’s job seemed simple.

“But it is not, there’s a long process they have to go through to make buildings.”

Helping students understand the process and that anyone can become an architect if they put the work in, is the message the Daaruds’ want to send.

“This has been a great experience,” Chadwick said. “I love all of the questions.”

Added Kristina, “It’s a lot of fun showing them their new school and seeing them get excited about it. I enjoy getting another generation of kids interested in this.”

Another popular presenter was John Walker, a logistics analyst with Insitu, an unmanned aircraft company based out of Bingen, Washington.

Students were surprised to learn that the drones can conduct facial recognition from 18,000 feet in the air.

“If I saw you talking to a group of other students, the drone could zero in on your face and we would instantly know your identity, if you were a person of interest, or a terrorist, your country of origin, everything,” he said. “We are also working on being able to listen to whatever you are saying, whether it is in a whisper or out loud.”

Walker added that the drones are equipped with technology which make it possible to zoom into a car, see how many people are sitting in it, and what it is carrying.

“That’s kinda scary,” said one student.

“That should be illegal,” remarked another.

Greg Payne, a firefighter with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, kept the students’ attention with a variety of visual aids such as the Jaws of Life and a thermal imaging camera, as well as videos of controlled burns, which were set to music.

“Fire itself rarely kills people,” he said. “In a house fire, people usually die from the smoke. It is very toxic and dangerous.”

He noted that firefighters typically carry 60 to 80 pounds of gear and must be in good physical shape.

“I am hoping to open up the students’ eyes to the different options that are out there for them,” Payne said. “If I can relate to even one kid, then it is worth the time.”

Seventh-grader Hailey Bachteler volunteered to have Payne outfit her with firefighers’ gear, so that students in the audience would have a realistic picture.

“It was pretty heavy,” she said. “I didn’t realize that before.”

Principal David Cooke noted he is fond of the saying, “Plan your work, work your plan,” and that career day is a part of that.

“The kids usually don’t know the journey to get where they want to be at this age,” he said. “They don’t realize that no matter what career path they choose, it takes a lot of work. We are trying to get them to understand the hard work and effort that is involved.”

Cooke noted that the local community has rallied around career day, now in its third year.

“They have just been incredible,” he said. “It is really important for kids to see local people who have worked hard and have achieved success.”