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A Terrific Year of Exploring Careers

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A terrific year of career exploration and mentoring opportunities, developed for the high school’s Student Career Connection program by the East Islip School-Business Partnership, has wound down.

The Catch-a-Career Breakfast, the first event in the year-round careers program, was held on Nov. 1 at the Irish Coffee Pub. It provided a crucial forum for students to discuss their career plans with business professionals representing their personal career interest areas. The participants gained insight on current trends, specific skills, and the academic or vocational programs that will help the students prepare for success in their intended career field. A total of 71 students attended, networking with 44 table facilitators representing more than 30 career fields including medical and healthcare, business and finance, law and law enforcement, journalism, media, politics, education, engineering, environmental sciences, and information technology.

East Islip alumna Veronica Pasha, a Class of 2011 graduate and registered nurse at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, served as the keynote speaker. Pasha spoke about her journey into nursing and acknowledged her family and teachers who helped guide her to a rewarding career.

“Veronica’s inspirational words echoed the importance of seeking advice from others when pursuing a career,” said teacher and School-Business Partnership coordinator Paul McHugh. “Student interaction was excellent, and there was a lot of energy in the room.”

The next step was the Mentor Me program, now in its 18th year of providing students with hands-on experiences in career fields they wish to pursue after high school. It began with the Meet My Mentor Breakfast on Nov. 29, where the high schoolers made their first contacts with experienced professional mentors, who guided the students into the business world. Participating mentor organizations and individuals included Bideawee, Country Village Florist and Gifts, attorney Jodi Ann Donato, The Electrical Training Center, architect Joseph Gabriel, Glen Head Country Club, JVC Broadcasting, dentist Raymond Mascolo, Northwell Health, St. Francis Hospital, Signature Bank, the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk Transportation, the Town of Islip and Zebra Technologies. Each student then began to exchange emails with their selected mentor and were given the opportunity to “shadow” the mentor for a full day in 2018, enabling them to see what it is like to work in that career field.

“This worthwhile program is a must for students, as it opens their eyes to what their future will look like,” said teacher Bridget Lopiccolo, the coordinator of the Mentor Me program. “It is truly remarkable to see the students as they light up and feel the passion of the career that they want to pursue.”

“I would like to extend thanks to all the career professionals who offered their time and experience during this school year to help our students in preparation for college and career success,” said McHugh. “Thanks also to the district and high school administrators for their continued support.”

Friday, June 05, 2020