St. Joseph High School held a Career Day on Wednesday, Oct. 18, offered to all junior and senior students. Career Day is one element of the FUTURES program at St. Joseph High School and is part of the school’s overall commitment to college readiness. The goal of the program is to encourage students to explore career interests by meeting professionals in the fields they intend to pursue. In addition, all students were given a business etiquette class that included direction in self-presentation, business attire, interviewing skills, the importance of a strong on-line presence, and networking.

Guest speakers represented a multitude of public and private industries, answering questions, offering advice, and sharing networking tips to students in four breakout sessions and a roundtable lunch.

“Our students ought to know what opportunities are out there and what they need to know to get there,” remarked Head of School, Dr. William Fitzgerald. “The best way to do that is by talking to those who are in those fields right now. Hence, Career Day.”

The full day of activities kicked off with Dr. Donald E. Gibson, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Fairfield University, who currently teaches courses in Leadership and Teams, Human Resources, and Management. During the day, students met with professionals in four different fields, and engaged in a business lunch with the presenters of their choosing. The event’s closing speech was given by Kevin McSpirit, Director of Projects at Odin Marine, an international ship-brokerage company. McSpirit is a former officer with both the Navy and the Merchant Marine, and is the founder of Power Through Principles, a NFP program in life skills and character development for urban youth.

Thirty five professionals spent the day with students, offering more than 100 sessions.  A few of the guests included: A St. Joe’s graduate, Lauren Fabrizi, ’09, discussed the steps she took after finishing St. Joe’s and attending Syracuse University to pursue a career in journalism. Taking jobs across the country and far from home, Fabrizi worked within the field until eventually landing back in Connecticut, working as a reporter for News 12 Connecticut.

Dr. Sheldon Yessenow, a veterinarian who has run the Oronoque Animal Hospital in Stratford since its founding in 1982, and continues to offer his services for stray pets and animals displaced or affected by natural disasters. Dr. Yessenow cared for 9/11 search and rescue dogs, and also assisted animals injured after Hurricane Katrina.

Among the business speakers, students met Ken Martin, ’95, owner/operator of Colony Grill, LLC, which operates multiple Colony Grill restaurant locations throughout Connecticut. Prior to focusing on entrepreneurship, Martin completed hospitality and wine studies at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

These were three highlights from a long list of individuals who donated their time to speak with students.

A full list of speakers can be viewed on the SJSHS website: sjcadets.org/careerday. Additional photos can be viewed and downloaded from the SJHS Smug Mug page: sjcadets.org/smugmug.