Each spring Gateway High School hosts Career Day, welcoming visitors to campus from a wide variety of professions to speak with students about their field and answer student questions about what it’s like to spend a day in their vocational shoes. While an in-person career day wasn’t in the cards this year, GHS’ counselors weren’t going to be deterred, planning a virtual version that would connect students with guest speakers over Zoom.
In a classic example of turning proverbial lemons into lemonade, Virtual Career Day ended up being the largest career day in the school’s history, featuring more than 60 speakers from organizations as varied as Google, Lucasfilm, Stanford University, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Although we were nervous to adapt career day to a virtual environment, it ended up with a lot of benefits,” said Jenna Marx, GHS College Counselor and Student Opportunities Coordinator. “This was our biggest career day yet, and we were even able to record many of the sessions for students to watch later."
Without the barrier of needing to visit campus, speakers from all over the state, or even the country, were able to spend time with GHS students. Each student had the opportunity to hear multiple speakers and ask questions during interactive sessions. Moreover, the all-virtual event opens up possibilities for when students return to campus full time, perhaps for a Career Day in which students can chat with speakers both live and in-person as well as virtually.
“Students can’t plan for possibilities they don’t yet know exist,” said Joel Rangel, GHS’ Director of College Counseling. “Our hope is that Career Day allows students to start exploring potential careers they might not have otherwise been exposed to, and to learn firsthand about what it will take to get there.”