A day at the career fair

Kevin Wandra's picture

Kids usually have the most inquisitive minds, something that was recently brought to my attention once again.

The Fayette County School System hosted a two-day career fair for all the county’s eight-graders last week at the Heritage Christian Church in Peachtree City. It gave the students the opportunity to meet various professionals from a wide array of careers, including journalism.

I represented the journalism field for The Citizen, and I must say the event was a blast.

I sat at a table with a couple copies of The Citizen and just waited for knowledge-hungry students to approach me with their questions.

Meeting the kids was the most enjoyable part of the career fair.

Some were shy and reserved; others were outgoing and loquacious. They all had one thing in common, at least the ones that approached me: They seemed to sincerely care about what I had to say.

I realize I’m never going to win the Pulitzer Prize, but I still feel like I have enough journalistic wisdom to provide useful information for a young batch of aspiring writers.

The usual questions were asked: What are your everyday duties? What do you like most about your job? What do you dislike most about your job? What type of degree do you need to become a journalist?

I did my best to take them inside the world of journalism, focusing primarily on the positive aspects of the field — being creative, consistently meeting new and exciting people, receiving positive feedback from readers and watching sporting events for free.

Once I answered their questions, I turned the tables on them and asked most of them a few questions, eliciting many wide eyes and smiles. As most parents and teachers can attest, kids love to talk about themselves.

At least three kids told me they are working on writing fantasy novels. Each was confident that their work would get published and become a best seller.

Perhaps one will become the next J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien.

One girl, with a smile as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, proudly told me that she wants to be a sports sideline reporter. She mentioned briefly that she loves to watch and write about sports.

Memo to ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews: Watch your back. The girl with whom I spoke could very well displace you in a few years.

One of the funniest comments I received from one of the kids was from a girl who, in her words, is a “great” writer. A second or two later, she admitted to me that she’s a terrible speller.

As any accomplished or aspiring writer will tell you, spelling is an essential part of becoming a great writer. I’ll give the girl the benefit of the doubt based on her confidence and enthusiasm.

Overall, discussing journalism with the kids was fun; the free breakfast and lunch were tasty and much appreciated; and meeting a bevy of new people — kids, teachers and other professionals representing numerous careers — was memorable.

I hope I’ll be invited back next year to take part in such a special event that benefits both the students and me.

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sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 02/13/2008 - 11:32am.

While I commend Kevin Wandra for taking time out of his busy day as ace sportscaster and erstwhile Citizen journamalist, I feel he did the youth of Fayette county a great disservice with his recent "career day" appearance at a local school.

Sure, the Citizen requires most of its writers to be proficient in spelling and grammar (Ben Nelms is the obvious exception too thee rule.."too thee"..get it?) but not every Fayette county newspaper has such high standards. The Fayette Daily News, for example, does just fine with an average of six spelling errors per edition.

Elitist Wandra should be aware that not all newspapers have stringent requirements like the Citizen has!


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