For the second year in a row, the Pathways Department at Porterville Unified School District put on a successful Career Kids show at the Barn Theater, exposing young students from schools in the area to potential careers through an interactive live stage production. Students were introduced to a variety of careers and the steps they can take early in their education to become the professional they dream of being.
“It gives our third grade students in PUSD and our surrounding school districts exposure to different careers that maybe they've never heard of before and some that they obviously have,” said Erik Santos, Pathways Learning Director.
For a span of three days through today, PUSD is hosting more than 1,000 students from 18 different elementary schools at the Barn Theater, where a cast of approximately 45 students from the Academy of the Performing Arts pathway at Harmony Magnet Academy entertain and educate the little ones.
The Career Kids performance opened with an explanation of theater etiquette before the host, Miss Caitlin, was introduced. She explained the show would feature interviews with multiple professionals working different jobs and which PUSD pathway they used to meet their career goals.
The cast of students played a police officer, firefighter, IT technicians, a chef, a group of singers, a doctor, a nurse, architects, a dance team and a pilot. The crowd of students erupted into shrieks of excitement and enthusiastic applause when it was time to talk about teachers and the value of their profession.
“It's never too early to expose our young children to potential careers or even to open their eyes and expand their horizons and interests that they have and bring out those passions and help them realize that those interests have skills,” said PUSD Pathways Director Cynthia Brown. “Their strengths and their passions actually could lead to a future career.”
Through several staged interviews, the third graders learned about the proper pathways to take if they wanted to pursue specific careers and jobs. The older HMA students led younger learners in song and dance, teaching them they aren’t limited to just one basic career and encouraging them to seek the pathway of the careers that interest them most.
Gordon Plaisted, STEAM Instructor and part of HMA’s Performing Arts Advisory Board, spoke about his pride for the HMA students, who pulled the show together with only a single rehearsal with the entire cast.
“Last year was our first year and the kids were awesome,” said Plaisted. “We've made some remarks on the script. We want to give the third graders a chance to know that when they get to high school, they can find a group and that they can start looking right now. The progression of the show has just been absolutely incredible. And again, it's because of the students, it's because of their teachers. They work closely with the drama teacher and they just do an amazing job.”