Henninger career day connects Black professionals with students
Students at Syracuse’s Henninger High School are marking Black History Month by thinking about their future.
Students filled a cafeteria for a career day called "How Did They Get There" to meet professionals who like them. There were African American business owners, police officers, doctors, nurses, lawyers to name a few. Resource Teacher and event coordinator Satina Wallace says the goal was to inspire juniors and seniors who might be feeling discouraged or are just seeking some direction.
“I went around and asked students, what do you want to do? They may say a doctor, they say surgeon. They may say they want to be a minority business owner," Wallace said. "So I gathered all those people who are from African American descent, even though they're here for all students, so that they can see that we do have people of our own who have excelled in that field.”
Senior J’Daria Thompson agrees. She was one of the career day organizers.
“You're more open to talk to them. You got the same relations, coming from the same area and everything, instead of just having to just talk to somebody you don't know anything about.”
She hopes it boosted confidence among her peers.
“I feel like it gives them a chance also to make it in these careers and to actually go far with their jobs in life.”
Junior Inese Odom was also an organizer.
“I'm definitely making some connections myself," Odom said. "This is really meaningful to me because I've never like experienced anything like this. So it's really cool. My fellow peers, I'm getting the same vibe as from them also. They told me like they're having fun. It's a great experience, all of that.”
SUNY Upstate Registered Nurse Raven Smith was one of the professionals on hand to meet with students.
“They have their mind set up about what they want to do, I would say a majority like 90 percent," Smith said. "But they just don't know how to get there, the steps that it takes, like associates degrees first, and then your bachelor's degree afterwards, just like the educational steps it took to get here.”
Smith says it was fulfilling to connect with the students and to see their interest and energy.
“It is very, very, very meaningful and it has actually impacted me," Smith said. "So I think this is even for me it has inspired me. So I'm definitely going to do more and reach out more.”