Allison Davis knows what most people think of when they think of FBI agents.
“They think it’s like you see on TV and in movies,” she said. “You think it’s guys wearing black suits and shades that are mysterious and secretive.”
Davis knows differently now after speaking with someone who works with the FBI.
“It’s more like a higher form of police officer,” she said.
Davis, a junior at Clarkstown South, spoke with the FBI worker Saturday morning at South, when the school hosted a Career Day, which was open to students at South and North in all grades. Clarkstown School Board Trustee Mike Aglialoro thought about putting on the event for years, and this year organized it with help from teachers, school officials and parents. He hopes they can put it on at least once a year moving forward.
“For me this has been 10 years in the making,” he said. “I’ve been involved with a lot of scholarships where you read essays by graduating students who say they want to go into business or investment banking or whatever, but they don’t really know what it takes to get those jobs or sometimes what people with them actually do. I thought an event like this would give us an opportunity to help students better understand certain careers.”
Aglialoro said he told people about the event even years before organizing it, and once it was time for it to happen, he brought it up to them. Other professionals were parents who have children in either of the schools or alumni of the schools. The district also sent out letters to alumni and parents asking if they’d like to participate in the event, as well as gauged student interest. Aglialoro said more than 500 students responded they’d be interested in the event, and estimated they had about 150 at Saturday’s event.
“As a first Career Day, we’re pleased with the turnout,” he said. “You never know how many kids you’re going to get when you do something on a Saturday morning. But more than the number of kids, I think the event really went well. I was talking to some of the professionals and they were so enthusiastic about how things went. I think they made a real connection with the students.”
Aglialoro said he hopes the event can grow moving forward, and one way that might happen is through word of mouth amongst the students that attended. Kaitlyn Murawski, a junior at South, said she would definitely attend another Career Day event, and that she’d tell friends who didn’t attend Saturday’s to attend.
“You’re able to really talk to the professionals and ask them about what their job is like, and it’s a lot better than just researching it at home on the computer,” she said. “It was really beneficial and I hope more people have an opportunity like this.”
The day was broken up into two sections. During the first part, all the professionals stood at tables in the main hallway of the school and students could walk around and talk to them. For any profession they found particularly interesting, they could sign up for up to three breakaway sessions, which were half hour sessions where the professionals gave a more in depth presentation on their job and answered any questions.
“I went to the engineering one and that was really good,” Davis said. “I asked a lot of questions about the different types of engineers and what a typical day is like for an engineer.”
Davis also went to the FBI and journalism breakaway sessions, as did Amanda Hahn, another junior at South.
“It was really interesting to see all the variety of professions and hear them talk about they do,” Hahn said.
Murawski went to the FBI session, along with the chemist and nursing ones. She said going into the day she was already interested in nursing, and is probably more interested in it now after Career Day.
Other professionals included doctors, lawyers, an architect, a bomb specialist, Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and Clarkstown Town Clerk Justin Sweet.
Dwayne Brown, of New City, was one of the 30-plus professionals on hand. He was there to talk about his all-in-one event planning company, DNK Events, which is based out of New York City and Mount Vernon, with an office coming soon to Nanuet, he said.
Brown has a daughter that attends South and saw the call out to parents about Career Day and thought it was a great idea. He didn’t have a Career Day in high school and said it would’ve been nice to.
“It’s showing the kids different options,” he said. “I’m an entrepreneur and built my business up from scratch. A lot of the kids might think event planning is just sitting around and planning parties, but we also take photos and video. We have to control the event. There’s a lot that goes into it. We have someone who does makeup, a lawyer, an accountant. It’s much more intense than someone might think. And so an event like this is good to help kids understand that things aren’t going to be easy after graduating. The world changes a lot in those three or four years after you graduate.”