Career Day Inc. held its inaugural event at Oyster Bay High School on Dec. 2 and in the process, offered 374 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students a chance to have an atypical job fair experience. This Career Day featured students sitting in on presentations from 58 different professionals. The idea of having such a varied menu of jobs ranging from plumber and electrician to acting Supreme Court Justice to an award-winning restaurant owner/chef, documentary filmmaker and astronomer as a key component for Career Day Inc. founder Beth Bucheister when she was putting this program together.
“It’s not just a career day where people are just walking around in a cafeteria, going to tables and collecting pamphlets. It’s engaging,” Bucheister said. “A lot of the presenters are coming up and saying that the kids are asking great questions. I was able to tell them that you don’t need to just know about law, but you need to know about business, accounting, documents and whatever it is so when you go into whatever profession, you have all the skills.”
Bucheister added, “My idea is that it’s not about what degrees you have or whether you become a lawyer or doctor. It’s about how everyone has value equally. You’re here at the starting point in high school and wherever you go, that’s up to you.”
The inspiration for this unique tragedy was born out of the tragic murder of Bucheister’s late husband, Arie, who was shot to death in the couple’s Bushwick clothing store back in 2003. The late small business owner was also known as a passionate community activist who was always looking to inspire and encourage the younger residents of this low-income neighborhood to better themselves. When the reward fund went untouched as no leads came through pointing to his assailants, his widow chose to go forward and do something with the money that would honor his memory.
“We gave out the scholarship unconnected to Career Day back in 2005. I sat with this reward fund and wanted to know what we were going to do with this money. We never really had anyone come forward to say who killed my husband and the reward fund was just sitting there,” Bucheister explained. “I wanted to do something with it in his name and in our values. And that’s getting the kids to think about what they’re going to do with their lives and what they can do to get these connections to move forward with their lives.”
The professionals who spoke on this day were as inspired as the young charges they had sitting in on their presentations. This was Dr. Michael Castellano’s second time appearing at this kind of event, although his first in this format. The Winthrop-University Hospital surgeon feels one role he and his peers play is in dispelling misconceptions that might otherwise dissuade someone from choosing a particular career path.
“[Kids] have some vague ideas of how to get to what they want to do. They don’t hear the true story about how to get to their chosen profession,” Castellano said. “There’s a lot of mystery behind becoming a physician. You wouldn’t think so, but there is. There is a little misinformation there too, like the fact that you have to be a science major. You don’t have to be. Or that you have to take a thousand AP courses in high school or that you can’t be squeamish about blood. All those things are not necessarily true. I think it’s important to get the inside information. Besides that, they get to hear about careers they may never have heard of.”
Jonathan Seiden, an Oyster Bay High School alum and entertainment lawyer drove in from his home in Princeton, NJ with the intention of inspiring these current students and also hoping to offer some encouragement given the opportunities they have growing up in this particular community. And while he entertained them with stories about working on contracts as part of the legal team behind American Idol or representing the Elvis Presley estate in his prior experiences, his greatest contribution was pushing them to reach high going forward.
“I think there are so many opportunities at these kids’ fingertips, so the ability to tap into people in various industries and learn about them is fascinating,” he said. “The most rewarding part is having the opportunity to inspire anybody in that room, and not necessarily about entertainment. It can be something that they’re passionate about. I really think that as a career, you should do something that you’re passionate about. I don’t want them to think they can only clock in and out at some job. They have the ability to create their life plan right now. So why not have it be about something they’re passionate about—or be about something they can become passionate about? If I can inspire that, that’s cool.”
For 15-year-old sophomores Kevin Hart and Eliot Fumante, Career Day turned out to be quite the eye-opener for both students, who wound up getting their curiosity piqued in careers that were previously not on their radar—aviation being a primary interest for both.
“I’m going to check out the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], because they seem like they have a lot of good opportunities down that career path,” Hart said.
“Aviation has so many jobs that I didn’t even know existed,” Fumante added. “I’ll definitely look more into the army because they definitely provide a lot more financial relief that I didn’t even know they provided.”
Along with learning about professions they may have not otherwise known about, students were treated to a luncheon sponsored by Oyster Bay Rotary, where students and professionals were able to interact informally. In addition, Debbi Honorof, marketing director of continuing education at Hofstra University gave a presentation entitled “Thriving in the 21st Century Workplace.”
Bucheister also will be awarding a $1000 scholarship in connection with the Career Day Inc. event. The Arie Bucheister Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to support an outstanding student(s) who, by their efforts, demonstrates the effect that Career Day 2016 has had on their future goals, education or training.
“[My husband] believed that success is available in the head and the hands of each individual,” she said. “It is not measured by the number of degrees or money earned, but by the efforts one makes to fulfill their life in meaningful and productive ways. That’s what it’s about”
Visit www.careerdayinc.com to find out more about Career Day.