Thursday, June 20, 2024

Bilingual Career Night inspires young students


LEAVENWORTH – Students from Kindergarten to 5th grade were encouraged to explore their interests and dream big at the second annual Bilingual Career Night hosted by Alpine Lakes and Peshastin-Dryden elementary schools on Jan. 31.

The event had six tables with activities and representatives covering job areas such as agriculture and natural resources, health services, arts and communication, business and management, engineering and technology, and human services.

“We don't want kids to have to choose what they want to do when they're adults right now, but we want to show them that there's a variety of things that they can be interested in,” said Peshastin-Dryden Principal Emily Ross.

Career night wasn’t a one-time event, but a culmination of the work School Counselor Meche Grace has been doing with both elementaries over the past month. At this age, the focus is less about work, and more about self-discovery and exploration. Kids are encouraged to ask themselves what they enjoy doing most in their free time, what others would say their strengths are, and how they want to help others.

“A night like this is all about the families, so I want conversations to start, or to continue, that it's not just about “What do you want to be when you grow up?” that a lot of our students get as a question, but more of how can we facilitate your interests? How can we explore these different avenues? What sort of things are you curious about?” said Grace.

The event was bilingual to ensure that every family was able to facilitate those conversations with their students. Many career representatives were native Spanish speakers, and for those who weren’t, Grace recruited Spanish interpreters for those tables.

“It’s really important not just to have interpreters but also to have that representation for our students to see themselves and future careers, so that was really cool,” said Grace.

The administration was also intentional to include a wide variety of jobs. While students could still learn about doctors and nurses, they were also able to meet a lab technician who works behind the scenes. They could to meet a mountain guide who climbs and skis for a living, or someone who isn’t just an engineer, but an engineer business manager.

“We want to include the [jobs] that kids might know about, but we want to expand things they might not know about. We want to make sure that they see the diversity in the jobs, that all kinds of people can do all kinds of things,” said Ross.

Although younger grades may not remember the lab technician at career night, the hope is that the connection lays the foundation for parents and schools to help students explore their interests and strengths. By the time they reach high school, students will feel more confident and prepared to work towards a college or career goal that suits them.

“I think for all of us, regardless of our background, our experiences, and our culture, we don't know what else is out there until things like this can help expand our knowledge base,” said Grace.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here