Rotary Vocational Days convince a local student that teaching is her forever career

Madison Danielski, an 11th-grader at Bay City Central High School, was one of 150 Bay County high school juniors and seniors who participated in Rotary Vocational Days earlier this month. Madison hopes to attend Ferris State College to become a teacher. Here, Madison details her experiences during Rotary Vocational Days.

On Thurs., Nov. 2,  when I arrived at the Bay City Rotary Club and Morning Rotary Club Vocational Days gathering for breakfast and a few speeches, I saw a lot more people than I expected. 

About 150 people were sitting along with me. I was not only surprised to see this many people but happy that there were other kids like me who were super excited to go and visit some of their possible future jobs.

Trenton Robinson, a Bay City Central graduate and former NFL player, talks during Rotary Vocational Days about the importance of perseverance and never giving up. (Photo courtesy of Emily Woodruff Photography)There was one specific speaker that I felt really knew what he was talking about, Trenton Robinson. Robinson, a former NFL player who graduated from Bay City Central High School, spoke about never giving up and persevering no matter what. 

After breakfast, I headed over to MacGregor Elementary School. As soon as I walked into the classroom I felt like I was back in fifth grade. The way that the room was decorated and the seats were arranged reminded me of where I sat when I was in their shoes.

I walked into Mrs. Stacey DeShano’s class and introduced myself. She took me on a tour of the building to show me where everything was. On our tour we stopped to see her students that were in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class. At the beginning of every day, her students have a special class of either music, gym, or STEM. I feel like having these classes first thing in the morning is very smart as it will wake the kids up and get them focused. 

When the door opened all the students looked at me and started asking questions. What my name was, who I was, why I was here, and how long I was going to be here. I felt like this super cool person who they actually wanted to have back. 

Matt Felan, President of Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and co-chair of Rotary Vocational days, talks to high schools and juniors at the beginning of the event earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Emily Woodruff Photography)When we were walking back to the classroom, I noticed how quiet the school was. Mrs. DeShano told me that at McGregor they practice being quiet in the hallway to make sure other classes can stay focused. 

When we made it back to the classroom, Mrs.DeShano introduced me to the class and everyone said hi to me all at once. They really made me feel welcome. 

When the lesson started, I noticed that Mrs. DeShano uses words such as “simple” and “difficult” or fun words such as “easy peasy” instead of “easy” and “hard.” I really like this substitution because I feel it encourages the students to keep going. 

Another thing that Mrs. DeShano does is she rewards the students that are doing good things by saying thank you. When students are sitting quietly or listening well, she encourages them to continue that behavior by acknowledging them and saying thank you for listening or being patient. 

She also has them use sign language when asking to use the bathroom or saying that they agree or even that they got the same answer. I learned very quickly that fifth graders love to talk. They like to talk to you about yourself and what you like to do. Then, they will tell you all about themselves. 

The students began their day with the Rotary Clubs of Bay City. Trevor Keyes, co-chair of the 2023 Rotary Vocational Days and Bay Future President, talks to the students and professionals. (Photo courtesy of Emily Woodruff Photography)I enjoyed talking to them because they don’t talk about anything that me and my friends talk about. They like to talk about things such as their favorite school subjects and their favorite colors. They all wanted to talk to me about their siblings who go to the same school as me. 

After chatting with a few students, I learned that their favorite subjects were math, reading, recess, and lunch. I was very surprised to hear that math and reading were on that list, but very glad that Mrs. DeShano is able to make those subjects fun for them. 

I was sitting at the back table helping some students with their math questions when I realized that this is what I want to do. I want to be able to connect with the kids and help them to understand things better and make it easier for them. Watching the students work through their problems and finally get it is like watching a light bulb go off in their heads. 

Another thing I realized while observing Mrs.DeShano is that the students have somewhat of a short attention span. When the students seem to be a bit off track, she brings them back with a little fact about the lesson or by using other students as an example. I find that this is very helpful because it shows them what they should be doing instead of what they were previously doing. 

I feel like Rotary Vocational Days are very important because they help students figure out what they really want to go to college for, and what they want to become when they are older. I feel like Rotary Vocational Days bring brand new opportunities to this community.

At the opening breakfast, someone said that you will go into today and either love what you do and pursue that career right away or you could go into today and realize that the job you choose may not be your forever career. I can now say that after spending the day with Mrs. DeShano and her amazing students, that this is my forever career.

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