As with most events this year, Saint James School’s week-long tradition of Career Week had to be adjusted to accommodate for social distancing and other Covid restrictions. However, thanks to some ingenuity and technology, the program has been able to take place during this past week.

In a non-Covid year, Saint James 8th graders research different career options and choose a person in that career to shadow. This year’s challenges opened up new and different opportunities. Students completed a professional career assessment tool which gave the student a list of potential career options. From the top five options, the students were assigned a career to research. As part of the research the students were to plan an interview for a person in this particular field. Normally, this interview would be of the person that would be shadowed. But, with shadowing not allowed due to Covid-restrictions, the students were able to interview local or non-local professionals by telephone, Zoom, or in-person.

During the week of November 17, each student did a presentation of the findings about his/her chosen career. In this way, all the students learned about the different careers. Also, new this year, was a set of Zoom Career Seminars for students to attend. These were set up in various classrooms on November 18 and 19. Students had four to choose from each day. Each professional talked about his or her career and answered questions.  This was a unique opportunity to get professionals from all over the state and nation.

On Wednesday, November 18, students chose from the following options:

Gavin McGee (Brighton, MI), Senior Engineer, Vehicle Dynamics with Ford Motor Company; works on the new Bronco, Mustang, Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. He spoke to students interested in engineering, automotive careers.

Sue Bell Cobb (Pike Road, AL; STJ Alum Parent), Attorney, former Chief Justice for the State of Alabama, former Gubernatorial Candidate. She was speaking to students interested in law, public service, and public office.

Jane Soloman (Dothan, AL / Santa Rosa Beach, FL), President, Barlovento Construction. She spoke with students interested in building / civil engineering, construction, and/or girls interested in being in male-dominated careers.

Brig. Gen. Trent Edwards (Ret.) (Montgomery, AL; STJ parent), currently working for the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce; retired USAF Brigadier General. He was speaking to students interested in military careers.

On Thursday, November 19, the following professionals were available for students to speak with over Zoom:

Stephanie Carter Campbell (Troy, AL / Santa Rosa Beach, FL), Owner and Designer of Judith March clothing line. She spoke to students interested in entrepreneurship and fashion.

Christy Samotowka (Montgomery, AL; parent of STJ Senior Sumner Brown), Registered Nurse who has worked as a trauma nurse and is now a same-day vascular surgery nurse. She spoke to students interested in any medical profession.

Branden Greenberg (Montgomery, AL; STJ Alum, Class of 2012), Attorney, NFL Agent. He spoke to students interested in law, sports management, and professional sports.

We were also thrilled to have a presentation by a Special Agent for the FBI who spoke to students interested in law enforcement, criminology, and government careers.

This longstanding program for the Saint James 8th grade is a wonderful way to help students find their passion and connect with their studies.