A Kaiser Permanente doctor, a senior writer for “Entertainment Weekly” and a CEO of T.S. Restaurants are a few of the professionals sharing their “passion projects” with sixth-graders students in Ken Newton’s Fair Oaks Ranch classroom.
The two-month program at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School puts a spin on the traditional career day, encouraging students to discover their passions by meeting with current experts and asking them questions about their fields.
“I love to give them this opportunity to research their passion,” Newton said. “Now, younger and younger you have to start thinking of what you want to be when you grow up.”
On Thursday, the inaugural Career Day Panel included conversations with Dr. Neel Shah, a doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clarita, and Anthony Breznican, a senior writer for “Entertainment Weekly.”
“I love my job,” Shah said. “When I come home after 12 hours of work and I’m happy I know I’m in the right job… And that’s what this whole thing is for, to find what your passion is.”
Thursday’s discussion with Shah and Breznican were led by 12-year-old Alex Chavez, who acted as the presentation’s moderator.
“Mr. Newton chose me to do this and he thought I would be really good,” said Chavez, who wants to be a doctor or a Navy Seal when he grows up. “It means a lot to me to know my teacher believes in me to do this.”
During their presentations, both Shah and Breznican shared information about what they were like in sixth grade, how they entered their field, what their greatest challenges and triumphs are and what their advice to students is.
“In sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer and tell stories… sixth grade got me started on this journey,” said Breznican, who is the magazine’s lead national writer for Marvel and Star Wars. “My best advice is… don’t listen to the voice that says, ‘This isn’t good enough.’ Keep going even when you feel discouraged.”
Shah also reminded the students that, no matter what career they pursue, each job requires a lot of studying, hard work and dedication.
“I continue to read and improve and get better each day, you have to do that with any type of field,” he said. “(Being a doctor) is hard work and a lot of time and a lot of commitment.”
Despite all the hard work, both speakers and Newton urged the students to pursue their passions, no matter who or what stands in their ways.
“Dream it, do it, believe in yourself and make it a reality,” Breznican said. “It’s possible, it’s just going to take some time and work.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_