Gause students dare to dream

During College and Career Week, Washougal youngsters realize it’s never too early to think about future

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Port of Portland Police Captain and Washougal School District School Board member Cory Chase meets with Gause Elementary School students Jason Meulton, a fifth-grader (left) and Aiden Sled, a third-grader (right) during the school's Jan. 12 Career Day. (Contributed photos by Rene Carroll, courtesy of the Washougal School District)

As part of “College and Career Week” at Gause Elementary School, held Jan. 8-12, students participated in a variety of activities aimed at preparing them to think about graduation, careers and college.

“As we work to ensure all students are college and career ready, our goal is to introduce students to careers early so they link the importance of education to obtaining their dream job,” said Gause Principal Renae Burson.

Each day of the week had a theme, with the culminating activity occurring on Friday, Jan. 12, when students participated in Career Day. Parents and local community members shared information about their careers in K-2 classrooms, while students in third, fourth and fifth grades visited the career fair held in the cafeteria and the library.

Students were asked to dress to impress the presenters. They put their best foot forward and learned about new careers — and what it takes to get there.

Fifth-grader Lucy Albaugh said the firefighter was her favorite presenter.

“I liked to see all of his tools and he did a good job explaining how he uses them,” she said.

Asked why it is important to learn about careers when you are in the fifth grade, Albaugh explained: “It helps you to see your future and start planning how you can get there through choosing the right classes to take in school.”

Speakers also included an engineer/geologist, police captain, registered nurse, a fisheries habitat biologist, a Head Start coordinator, a computer coder and a member of the United States National Guard.

Students prepared questions for the presenters and received stamps from each station they visited.

“It is so great to see the wide variety of careers presented that are available locally to our kids,” said event organizer and school counselor, Jerolyn Friesen. “And it is exciting to watch the exchange between the students and presenters and the questions they ask about the various careers.”

The week of fun started with “Made it Monday,” when students wore orange and black for Washougal High School to celebrate the importance of a high school diploma.

The next day, “Time Challenge Tuesday,” focused on the importance of punctuality. Students were rewarded for arriving to class on time.

“When I Grow Up Wednesday” encouraged students to dream big about what they want to be when they grow up and to dress for the part.

Thursday was “College Color Day,” and students wore their favorite college colors or gear.

“The Career Day program was a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with community members and explore the many careers available in the local area,” said Burson.

Information provided by Jodi Thomas, of Educational Service District (ESD) 112