Photo by Donna Agusti
Steven Kendzorski from the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music talks with
Zach Forbes, 14, and Steve Kwarsick, 13, during Career Choices at
Royal Oak High School Nov. 7.
By Jennifer Kopsch
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — Finding the right career path can be a tough task, but high school and middle school students in Royal Oak recently got a little help.
On Nov. 7, students in eighth- through 12th-grade attended the Royal Oak school district’s annual Career Choices event at Royal Oak High School, which featured nearly 40 companies representing Michigan’s six career pathways — Arts and Communication, Business Management, Engineering/ Manufacturing, Health Sciences, Human Services, and Natural Resources.
“Career Choices gives students in Royal Oak an opportunity to connect with college representatives and business people in the community,” said Ben Ancona, director of operations for MacLean Vehicle Systems in Royal Oak.
Ancona has been involved with the event for several years, and said that it could have a real effect on students’ decisions about their education.
“If Career Choices has an impact on one student’s future, it is a huge success,” he said.
Students said that they enjoyed seeing all of the career possibilities that are available.
“It’s cool because, if you’re wondering about a job, you can go around and ask them questions,” said ROHS senior Paige Schwartz, 17.
Schwartz, along with seniors Kevin Filthaut, 17, and Bryan Nieradka, 17, are already thinking about their future careers by participating in medical-related co-op programs.
“I’m going into the medical field and I want to be a physical therapist,” said Filthaut, who added that Career Choices exposed them to even more options.
Denise Allen, manager of the radiologic technology program at St. John Hospital, said that a lot of students showed interest in medical careers, but didn’t know exactly which direction they wanted to pursue. She told students a little more about what radiologists do, how much schooling is involved and what kinds of job opportunities are available.
“We’re a valuable part of the health care team,” she said.
One of the most popular — and perhaps loudest— booths at the event was hosted by the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music, located in downtown Royal Oak.
“We’re sort of music lessons on steroids,” said owner Jason Gittinger.
The unique school offers a wide range of music lessons and workshops, as well as classes about the business side of the music industry. Gittinger said that, although he hopes to get kids interested in music, his main goal at Career Choices was to encourage them to follow their dreams, regardless of the field.
“I want them to know that if they have a passion for anything in their life, to follow it 110 percent,” he said. “I only care that they care to learn.”
Students also had a chance to talk to two Royal Oak alumni, who hosted the MacLean Vehicle Systems booth. Lee Mayers of Troy and Ben Keinman of Royal Oak both graduated from the district in 2002 and became involved with MVS through a scholarship program. Now they both work for the company, which makes lug nuts for the auto industry.
“One of the most interesting things is how much work goes into it,” said Mayers. “I like to share that.”
“The sophistication of the most mundane aspects of society is phenomenal,” added Keinman. “It’s exciting to make a lug nut sound interesting.”
Other Career Choices participants included the Community Media Network, OUR Credit Union, Michelin North America, William Beaumont Hospital, the Royal Oak Public Library, William Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors, the Detroit Zoological Institute and City Year Detroit. Several post-secondary schools, including Baker College, Wayne State University and Oakland Community College, also participated in the event.
You can reach Staff Writer Jennifer Kopsch at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (586) 498-1052.