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The Times
  • Poland students provided information about careers, college, online safety

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  • POLAND — Poland students recently had the opportunity to learn more about various career options, how to be safe and smart online and how to prepare for college.
    The career day event earlier this school year featured guests from a variety of professional backgrounds such as engineering, education, sports management and the law enforcement.
    “They had a good time,” Poland guidance counselor Janice Watrous said. “The goal was just to expose kids at an early age to get them to start thinking about careers and how it ties into what they’re doing now — make it a little more relevant.”
    While the middle-school students experienced the career day on Feb. 7, high-school students had a different program for the day.
    All high-school students participated in the NetSmartz Workshop, which is a program put on by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. NetSmartz aims to prepare students to “behave responsibly when confronted with issues such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online exploitation, revealing too much information, sexting and scams,” according to the program’s official description.
    The NetSmartz Workshop ties in with the Dignity for All Students Act and was a way to address Internet and social media issues, Watrous said.
    “We just want to make sure they are using it appropriately and being safe,” she said.
    Students in grades 11-12 then also participated in Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s College Preparedness Series. The series focuses on finding the right college, deciding on a major, being college ready, the college applications process, financial aid and scholarship opportunities and what to do when you are on the college campus.
    The career day for the middle-school students was based on surveys that students in grades 6-8 filled out.
    Sean Morelle, also known as S-Dot, promotions director for KISS FM, was the keynote speaker and talked about good lessons such as never giving up. Wendy Fical, program director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, was the other guest speaker.
    Students then broke out into sessions with local professionals of their choosing. Many of the guests were parents or Poland alumni, Watrous said.
    “It was kind of a nice community and school event,” she said.
    The other guests were Keth James of Townsquare Media, Dave Bagley of the Kernan Professional Group, Jessica Jolls of Tresses Hair Salon, Nadine Favata of Rome Memorial Hospital, Shaun Nelson of the U.S. Navy, Maura Harling-Stefl of SUNY ESF, Tom Wells, retired Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES instructor, Donald Dutcher of Herkimer College, Eve Taverne of Eve Taverne Photography, Jim Picolla of the state Department of Transportation, Patrice Hallock of Utica College, Rob Perry of Quadsimia, Chris Nellis of the Herkimer Veterinary Association, Carmen Nicotera of LIUNA Local No. 35, Mike Zarnock, of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES automotive technology program, and Ed Jones of the state police.

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