Career Day at MVI provides a snapshot for future opportunities

Dr. Chris Baldwin, Superintendent of Macon County Schools was spotted at MVI on Career Day visiting Tamara Talley of the N.C Cooperative Extension, showcasing STEM careers in agriculture.

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

Mountain View Intermediate School (MVI)  held its annual Career Day last Friday, featuring 41 area businesses. Each business station was located in a classroom and students were allowed to choose three careers to visit. Programs were an hour long, which gave presenters enough time to give some in depth information about their business or service. Students were engaged and asking pertinent questions as the presenters demonstrated their specialties. 

Several medical services had exhibits including Angel Medical Center, Asheville Orthopedics Associates, Meridian Behavioral Health, Landrum Veterinarian Hospital, Cowee Cowgirl Mobile Large Animal Veterinary Services and Cathi Smith Massage. Meridian Behavioral Health featured an enthusiastic Tawana Valentine, Behaviorist, Enhanced Services. Valentine was giving tips regarding “coping skills” which included deep breathing techniques.  She also spoke about finding a “trusted adult” to talk to in a time of need. She explained that this adult does not have to be a parent. Choices included, teachers, guidance counselors, police, firefighters, older siblings or someone at your church. 

Several county officials were on hand to talk about their operations within the town. Clarks Chapel Fire and Rescue, Macon County Solid Waste, Macon Soil and Water Conservation, and  The Town of Franklin Wastewater Treatment. One of the hottest demonstrations was the water conservation table which was located outside. There students were able to interact with soil and water and discovered how rushing water shapes the soil.

Claire Suminski, of Suminski Family Books was on hand to explain how to create and write children’s books. Suminski was explaining how to write about coyotes without scaring the child. “If a coyote attacked a human, then in the book you talk about the animal kingdom and how coyotes attack other animals. That way it is less scary,” she explained. 

Muddy Sneakers was represented by Carlton Burke, Muddy Sneakers Field Instructor. Muddy Sneakers is a camp located in Hendersonville, N.C. They serve children ages 4-6 and 12-14. The camp experience builds a better understanding of the scientific process through experiential inquiry. 

“Muddy Sneakers is fun and a learning experience outside. You can see wild animals, do experiments, and all kind of fun stuff” said several students who previously attended the camp. For more information about the camp go to

Entegra Bank’s Employee Relations Manager/Banking, Lacy Carpenter was on hand to explain aspects of smart banking. Students who chose this venue were given an educational booklet with fun activities regarding how to be smart about banking.  Some of the activities that kept the students engaged and on task were looking at bills. They found out that the number “1” was printed 16 times on the one dollar bill, a fact that most likely not many adults know. The presenter explained how to make change quickly, how your money can grow in banks and how banks can pay you interest. The booklet showed students about checking accounts, budgets, getting good deals on sales and how smart spending can stretch your dollar.  

Gavin Metz, a fifth grade student visited three careers: Belcan Mechanical Engineering, Entegra Bank,  and Barnes & Noble Robot Round Up. “I enjoyed all three,” he said.  “At the mechanical engineering I learned how to make a sturdy bridge. The Entegra Bank we learned we will need to use math to manage money. Last was the Barnes & Noble Robot Round Up, I played with a robot and watched a cool virtual reality setting. I learned about how video will change the future and about coding. This was really a fun time.”

Jessica Keefer, also a fifth grader, chose to visit Backlot Cinema, BioNetwork, and Haywood Community College. 

“I liked the BioNetwork because you got to use this gadget thing. It helped measure liquid. In the Graphic Design room we got to draw. In Backlot Cinema we learned about video production and we did silly dances,” she said.

Laurel Lassiter, a sixth grader, also found one of her three choices most interesting.  

“The events I went to at career day were: Backlot Cinema, TekTone, and the Forest Service. The career that most stuck out to me was TekTone, because it is very important to our world and most people don’t realize what they do.  Even though they aren’t doctors and nurses they are saving people’s lives because they manufacture health care systems and send them all over the world to hospitals, nursing homes and even jails. The systems help patients communicate with nurses and get in touch with them when they are in need.  A patient’s needs can go from needing a snack to falling and needing immediate help.”

This event was made possible due to the efforts of Jennifer Love, STEM Program Coordinator, who organized the event; the 41 organizations who participated in the program; and MVI staff and teachers for their assistance.

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