OUR SCHOOLS: McDonough School and Milner School Students Tour Hartford’s Public Safety Complex and City Hall to Explore Civic Careers
3rd through 5th Grade scholars from Milner School and 7th and 8th grade students from McDonough Expeditionary Learning School (pictured fist-bumping a police officer above) were able to visit City Hall for a morning tour during October’s College and Career Readiness Month. Students were able to meet with government officials, Janice Castle, Director of Community Engagement, and Daryl Hill, Chief Financial Officer who shared their own college and career experiences. The students also enjoyed a visit with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. The three officials had similar messages for the students: don’t listen to people who say, “No, you can’t,” always keep exploring, and never give up.
MELS Students with Tamara Mitchell, HPS District Business Partnership Coordinator & NAF District Coordinator (left,) Mayor Luke Bronin (third from left) and their teachers (right.)
Students were then greeted at Hartford’s Public Safety Complex by Samariya Smith, Crisis Intervention Specialist for the Hartford Police. They were able to tour most areas in the facility including the 911 Emergency Call Center, detectives offices, and the Bomb Squad trucks parking area, where they met the station’s bomb sniffing dog, Comet.
Samariya Smith, Crisis Intervention Specialist for the Hartford Police (center) and the station’s bomb sniffing dog, Comet with the students.
The middle school students met Fire Department Lieutenant Lionel Thompson who gave them a tour of the fire department offices where they met two Fire Department Cadets. The students were introduced to the Special Services Unit’s Fire Explorer Program, a volunteer program for young men and women between the ages of 14-21 years of age who want to learn about the fire service. The Fire Cadet Program is a paid part time position for young men and women between the ages of 16-24 years of age who prepare for a career in the fire service with the Hartford Fire Department.
The tours were organized by Dr. Fernando Marroquin, Assistant to Council Woman Wildaliz Bermudez, Samariya Smith, Crisis Intervention Specialist for the Hartford Police, Amy Bourgin from MELS, Jasmin Waterman from Milner, and Tamara Mitchell-Davis, the District Business Partnership Coordinator & NAF District Coordinator from the HPS Office of College & Career Readiness.
Milner School students with their teacher, Jasmin Waterman (left) and with the Hartford Fire Department’s Chief Freeman (right.)
Ms. Mitchell says of the visits, “I enjoyed coordinating the events to expose our students to potential career pathways within our city. Not only did they get to learn about the history of Hartford but they were able to hear (first hand) from professionals in the industry about their college and career experiences. I could tell by the smiles on their faces and the questions being asked, they were inquisitive and excited.”
Ms. Mitchell remembers her own experiences with mentors and internships as she was growing up, “I hope the field trips to the City of Hartford, the Public Safety Complex and Aetna peaked their interest around potential college and career pathways and money saving strategies. In my junior and senior year in high school, I had an internship and participated in extracurricular activities that included college tours, career exploration activities and mentoring (Career Beginnings). Opportunities such as these kept me engaged. Was it a straight and narrow path? Absolutely not! But I can honestly say those experiences were meaningful and life changing. I hope the experiences our students explored this month as well as future experiences will keep them excited, engaged and inspired.”
She continues, “It can be challenging at times for students to see the connection from classroom to the workplace. However, in my opinion, exposure and awareness is key in decision making. The more we can expose our students to activities such as these, hopefully, they will develop a sense of what they want to be when they grow up….sooner than later. For some it can come sooner and others it may come later. The more we know….the more we grow!”
Hartford Public Schools remains so thankful to all of the generous people of the city who give their time and energy to help support and lift up our students. Thank you.