Using an NJEA Pride in Public Education grant, the Hackettstown Education Association (HEA) hosted a career day for the students at Hackettstown Middle School on Feb. 8.

Every student in grades 5-8 had the opportunity to talk with parent and community volunteers about their chosen professions. Students whose family members volunteered joined them before the  event for refreshments and helped set up their displays. Volunteers from a wide variety of professions from geologists to web designers, farmers, flight attendants, healthcare professionals, homeland security agents, PGA golfers, to local police and librarians all came into the school to show students the many opportunities that a good education can open to them.

Pride co-chairs Erin Durkin and Wendy Flynn reached out to parents and local businesses and organizations and were met with a great response with more than 45 volunteers signing up.

Students were able to ask questions and explore interactive displays (created by each volunteer) to learn more about how to become a member of the profession. They had a chance to pet a therapy dog, explore owl pellets, try on tactical gear, and even vote for the next M&M flavor, thanks to and employee from Mars, Inc.

Students from the high school QUEST program were also invited to participate to explore possible vocational placements. The Warren County Bookmobile and the Hackettstown Police Department mobile 911 center were outside for students to walk through and explore.

All of the students, teachers, and volunteers enjoyed having conversations, learning new things and even doing a little networking. As the inaugural event, this provided a great foundation for future events.

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