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SELMA – In an effort to teach elementary students enrolled in Garfield’s After-School Program about careers, Site Coordinator Paj Lee arranged for several career presentations.

“Our theme for February was careers so we had five different presenters who came to campus and presented to the students about their jobs and what they do on a daily basis,” she said.

Among presenters were Laura Brown from the Enterprise-Recorder, computer technician Ishmael Huerta, Thalia Arenas from the Fresno SPCA, Selma Police officers Shane Frandsen from Selma High and Matt Hughes from Heartland and deejay Raul Rodela.

The presenters each explained about their daily job responsibilities and then had the students create a project based on their jobs, take tours or operate the equipment they use on a daily basis.

“We had Laura present to our students because I wanted our kids to know how the newspaper works and that there are writers who have to go out, do research and put everything together,” Lee said.

“Ishmael developed an Ipad app for students and teachers so I thought it would be nice to have him come out here and teach the students a little about coding,” Lee said about the technology presentation. Arenas taught the students about what to do if they saw a homeless animal on the streets. She also told fourth through sixth grades students about the different jobs available working with animals, such as being a vet or working at the SPCA.

Officers Frandsen and Hughes talked with younger students about stranger danger and told the older students about their daily tasks on the job.

“Lastly, deejay Raul Rodela came out to show students how music works and that being a deejay is not as easy as it looks,” Lee said.

The students are eager to hear more presentations, Lee said, and while some already have their own ideas about what career they’d like as a grown-up, others are still trying to figure it all out.

“Overall, the students had a wonderful time.”

Second grader Cielo Ramos said she learned that reporters get to “go to many places around the world and they love their jobs.” She wants to be a doctor, however.

Cassie Sanchez, a third grader, said she would like to be a writer and after making up her own pretend newspaper for a project decided “it’s a little hard. I liked that I got to talk about new stuff in my newspaper but maybe I would want to be a teacher.”

Fourth-grader Kimberly Pacheco made up a story about herself and her friends and drew a large door as an illustration for her newspaper. “We opened it and we went on a big journey. It turned into something magical.” She’s not sure of what career she’d like to go into, but she now realizes even bad news must be told sometimes.

“I learned what a reporter does when they’re working. It sounds fun but then sometimes, too busy.

It’s sometimes good news and sometimes bad news. You want to learn that in case you see that bad person, you run and scream for help.”

Fourth-grader Viktorya Chavez Diaz was stumped at first about what to put in her newspaper project. She finally decided to write about herself as a fashion designer.

“I like to make dresses and other things like skirts or vests. I make them for me and I’m already working on an off-the-shoulder dress. When I grow up, my friends and I want to have a store and make clothes here in town.”

When asked to think of a key point she learned that day, Chavez Diaz remembered one important message: “Whatever you want to do, you should do it and never give up.”

The after-school program is supervised by tutors with the California Teaching Fellows program. Aaron Lopez is one of the tutors at Garfield and said the goal of the presentations was to have the young students start thinking about careers early in their lives.

“We want to expose them at this age so they can think, ‘this is really cool. I want to do this.’ So they can start learning early in the game and figure out what they want to do. There’s so much they can do out in the world,” Lopez said of career fields such as science and engineering.

“We’re hoping to get Reedley College’s STEM group over here to expose them to all these science jobs. The county is just agriculture and this is all they know,” Lopez said. “We need people telling them about all these things they can become if they study. They can be an architect or a doctor or a biologist.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or

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