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Toi Degree: Children are an inspiration

On Wednesday, March 29, I had the privilege for the second year in a row to speak to the students of Millbridge Elementary on their annual Career Day.

This was an exciting opportunity to share with our youth what I do on a daily basis. It was also a time to expose them to another side of our agricultural community. As luck would have it, Danélle and I were paired together so we orchestrated a great tag-team presentation for the students.

There were five sessions for the kindergarteners and first-graders, such young, impressionable minds with bright futures ahead.

We started each session with sharing our job titles and asked if they had a clue what we did. They each gave responses, but the best came in session five after I told them that I was the Family & Consumer Education Agent.

The response from one student was absolutely eye-opening and may change my future plans. He responded that I was a (wait for it) spy! That was the most interesting answer that I have been given to date. He replied, “Well, I thought since you said agent that you were a spy.”  I went on to tell him what I actually did; “Oh, OK,”  he said. I told him that I would have to include his response in my article, which made him smile.

Danelle and I had a great time talking with the students and seeing those bright smiles and potential.  We got a few ideas about the type of information they wanted us to talk about when we were with the students.

We told them about the education necessary for our careers, how subjects such as math, science, reading and writing are important in our careers, what a typical day is like, job responsibilities, pros and cons of our career, character traits that are important, and how we became interested in our career.

We stressed the importance of education and how important it was for them to study hard and get their high school diploma. We told where we got our undergraduate degrees, and Danélle told them that she was beginning to work on her master’s degree.  I think it conveyed to them the importance of continuing your education even after beginning your career.

We also told them how important reading, writing, science and math are and how we use them daily.  I used making a cake as an example. If I did not measure correctly or used the wrong ingredients, that my cake may not taste good or rise as it should.

I think I amazed them when I made the comment that “cooking is a science.” If I don’t measure my leavening agents correctly, I may have a volcanic experience when my cake spills over in the oven.  I certainly use writing because I have to write for the newspaper. It is important that we use writing mechanics for punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammar.

We also said our careers are very different. A typical day for us may begin early in the morning and end late in the evening, but we enjoy that flexibility and all of the new people, experiences, places and cool things that we get to do.

All in all, we had a blast with the students, and we certainly hope they will consider Extension when they grow up.

I sure hope that we are invited back to talk with the students in the future.  There is nothing that I like more than seeing our future farmers, doctors, teachers, lawyers and leaders at a young age and watching them grow up and become great.  Thanks so much Millbridge Elementary. We enjoy visiting and working with you so much.

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