Nov. 15, 2022, Bakersfield, CA — The Rotary Club Bakersfield Twilight over the past several years has sponsored the Mt. Vernon Elementary School in various education projects, and this year they supported the school’s inaugural Career Awareness Day. Organized by the school principal, Mrs. Xochitl Prieto (zoh-chee  pry-eh-toh), and her staff, several Bakersfield Twilight Rotarians gave up their busy Tuesday morning to share their passion for the business occupations they take a part in.
    Roughly 650 students ranging in groups of 5th-6th grades, 3rd-4th grades and 1st-2nd grades, each had an opportunity to ask questions about the Rotarians jobs. The goal is to give students an up-close-and-personal view of an array of occupations, especially ones they have never heard of. It can broaden their perspectives beyond what fathers and mothers might be employed Our Twilight Rotary representation included Colin Snitchler–Bio Medicine, Shonna Shearson–Bank Management, Laura Williams– Valley Achievement Center, Vince Zaragoza–Geography, and Brad Henderson– Architecture.
    Remember what you wanted to be as you were growing up? Did you become what you dreamed of, or did you go down a bumpy path as you learned more about yourself and what you are good at? These were some of the ideas floating among the Rotarian attendees, as were the additional professionals from first responders (and their ‘flashy’ service vehicles), engineers, doctors, teachers, photographers and film makers, etc. The “hit” of the event was the Bakersfield Community College “Robo-Dog” featuring Robotics, and its dancing to music from the D.J. alumnus that had originally attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School. This ‘day’ gave students examples of the many ways of what they are learning in school can relate to educational and career opportunities in the future.
    The upper grades were engaged with the professionals, asking questions about ‘how we got started in our chosen profession,’ what we liked about it,’ and ‘what do you have to study to become one.’ More interesting time-oriented questions centered about ‘how old do you have to be to begin a career’ or ‘how long have we been doing it.’ Some even shared how the hobbies and goals of the elementary students can be used in the workforce, which seemed to energize the children and make them feel both validated and valuable.
    The whole event inspired the Rotarians in attendance, since we represented three of the five Avenues of Service – Community Service, Vocational Service and Youth Service.