A total of 685 fifth grade students in Waxahachie ISD rotated through a career expo hosted at Lumpkin Stadium on Nov. 16. The students listened to professionals discuss careers that represented the 14 career clusters available for high school students.

At each station, students heard from businesses, industries and government representatives from the community and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Career professionals shared what education and experiences were required to be hired. They also exposed the students to the language and the organizational structure of their job and how they play a role in the community.

Students were eager to learn about the various jobs presented. When walking past the stations, students’ hands rose waiting to answer questions or wanting to volunteer in hands-on scenarios.

Hannah Zandt, a student at Martin Elementary said she wanted to either be a teacher or doctor when she grows up. But after going through the rotations, she said learning how engineers work was the most interesting.

She also said, “I learned about CNB, you know Citizens National Bank, how they make their money and how they sell loans. There was a chef and these people who work as engineers.”

But what’s most important to Zandt is impacting others. She said, “I like to help people and I like to care for them. I would like to be a baby doctor. Like when they’re born, if they have problems, I’d like to go help them.”

Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense security technology company gave an interactive demonstration about breaking down the thought process of shooting down an enemy missile.

One of the presenters Robert McDonald, an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin, said career expos are essential because it opens the kids’ eyes to what they could be capable of doing.

“I was influenced in the seventh grade actually by engineers coming in and doing the exact same thing that we are doing now,” McDonald said. “So, it’s really cool to pay it forward and introduce these kids, because a lot of these kids don’t know what engineering is, they don’t know what Lockheed is, so we get to introduce them to that. Now it’s in the back of their mind as they are going through school. It also gives them a little bit more purpose when they are taking their math and science classes.”

The career expo prepared students to think early about what pathway they’d like to elaborate on in high school. All the careers that presented aligned with the 14 professions that correspond with the Career, Technology, Education program at WHS.

Several presenters encouraged students to obtain a college education, as many of the careers did require a bachelor’s degree. During the public safety and police career cluster, “good moral character” was key to being hired.

REACH council, which was active on campus during Red Ribbon Week, spoke about what a non-profit organization is and the role they play in communities. The speaker talked about drug-and-alcohol prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.

The Army explained how there are several jobs available in the Army and that not everyone is in combat. The military personnel asked the students what they want to be when they grow up to help explain this idea, but the kids only mentioned different branches of the military they’d like to serve in.

There were a total of 21 stations that presented. Some of the other careers and companies that were: Dineen Farms, Univision Communications Inc., KBEC, State Farm, Ellis County clerks, WISD school, nurses and physical therapist, Unifled ConneXions, Inc., Americase and more.