Explore Middle School students explored the thematic topic “Planning for the Future” for the second quarter of the school year. During their Technology, Health, and Music classes, students explored various career fields within those subjects. Students researched the careers and responsibilities within those fields as well as what they needed to do to gain a position in those areas. To conclude the quarter, Explore held a showcase where students were able to share their research and projects that were completed; this showcase was held in February to celebrate CTE Month.
To kick off the quarter, students in Ms. Benito’s Health class conducted a class interview with Dr. Maryellen Benito, a family medical doctor. Students later viewed a presentation on Occupational Therapy presented by Occupational Therapist and Explore parent, Ms. Marsuli. Ms. Marsuli shared what her job entailed as well as videos of the kind of work that is done with her clients. Over a 5-week period, the Health students completed a research paper that answered the following questions: “What are the positive and negative features of the career you wish to pursue, and how do you fit into the role?” For the showcase, students created an informational poster based on their research paper that highlighted the occupation’s vital elements, including the pros and cons, their thesis statement, conclusion, salary, duties and responsibilities, and other information students wished to share.
For her research paper, 7th grader Michelle Ramnath researched psychiatry. Michelle expressed that she learned a great deal from her research and discovered that “If you are interested in helping people or helping people better themselves, then psychiatry would be a great field where you can apply those skills.”
In Mr. Aziz’s Technology class, students began the quarter by completing a survey to find out which Technology cluster was the best fit for students based on their current interests and activities. During class, students engaged in various discussions about the details of careers within information technology, arts, and audio/visual technology communications as well as the STEM fields. Utilizing a tool on the EducationPlanner.org website, students completed a careers clusters activity which guided them to find information on specific occupations such as daily tasks and activities, knowledge/skills and education requirements, related occupations, and wage/employment trends. Explore students were fortunate to have parent volunteers as virtual guest speakers who provided first-hand knowledge and allowed students to ask pertinent questions regarding their experience of working in the technical fields.
Explore would like to give a special thank you to the following parents for taking the time to provide this valuable experience; David Stanke (Software Engineer at Google), Alex Gomez (E-Sports Tech Ventures), Gregory Beaver (Web Developer), Richard Thomas (Mechanical Engineer), Rooni Mathew (Civil/Environmental Engineer), Josh Engroff (Python Software Developer), Wilber Amaya (Digital Design & Printing), Chris Seminowicz (Data Analytics Lead),
Zandra Franco (User Experience Design), Francisco Nogueras (Video Post-Production Engineer), Marlon Jackson (Digital Media/Marketing), and Edward Mufute (Media for Discovery).
To culminate the unit, students had the option of completing a podcast interview, video demonstration, career fair poster/brochure, or a CTE website/slideshow project.
6th grader Charlee Meyer conducted a video interview with her brother Jonas Meyer, a former Explore student and member of the Audio-Visual Production major at County Prep High School.
Commenting on Charlee’s work, Mr. Aziz shared, “The time Charlee took to produce the script and record/edit the final video resulted in a project that really exemplified the value of this unit for our students.”
Charlee stated, “I had been interested in working on interactive projects and I was excited that I was able to work with my brother for the assignment. I learned many skills in editing through the process that could be helpful in the future. It was a great opportunity to strengthen my skills.”
Ms. Angela Cirillo’s Music students chose from a list of careers within the field to research. Among the choices were choreographer, costume designer, instrumentalist, performer, and vocalist. Based on their research, students created a resume for that position. To accompany their resume, students also created sample work for that field, showcasing their numerous skills and talents within that field.
Ms. Cirillo shared, “All the live performances were amazing to see from singing, playing instruments, and dancing. Explore Middle School has such talented students, which is always a pleasure to watch and work with.”
Among the many phenomenal projects that were showcased, the 6th-grade group, “MASC”, performed an original dance. The performers’ costumes were designed by Melody. Andes-Phillips and Amerie Santana. Performers included Samantha Mursul as well as performer and choreographer Charlisse Burns. Charlisse created an original dance to the song “Butter”.
MASC members expressed, “It was fun working together and our ideas came together seamlessly. The project gave us the opportunity to share our talents and skills and because of the experience, we got to know one another better and appreciate what each member had to offer.”
8th grader Christina Cao amazed the audience with her piano skills playing Sonata #16 and Rondo alla Turca by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Following the showcase, the Vocal Arts CTE had a workshop with Ms. Melody Marti, a resident from Hudson County who played “Pili”, a Shark dancer, in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She discussed studying music, working in the field as a performer as well as working on the set of West Side Story. She shared pictures and videos as well. Students asked questions and towards the end of the workshop, some even showcased their talent for her to see.
Ms. Cirillo remarked, “It was a great experience for the students”.
Principal Krone shared, “As a CTE Middle School it is important that we not only prepare our students for high school but also expose them to career opportunities. This was one of the many wonderful experiences the students have which allowed them to explore career pathways based on their interests and special skills. Thank you to Ms. Benito, Mr. Aziz and Ms. Cirillo for leading this thematic unit”