Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Careers on display at Middle School fair

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Peekskill Firefighter Patrick McGinnis helping an eighth grader don the fire equipment. 

Little did I suspect when I was invited to attend Peekskill Middle School’s Career Day I would be re-connected with my past in such a surprising way. 

During the two and a half hour event on Friday morning (March 15) some 900 students in grades six, seven, and eight descended on the spacious gymnasium that was turned into a career fair. Each grade came for a 40-minute period and was instructed to walk around the perimeter of the room and speak with the representatives of various industries. At stations in the center of the room were members of Peekskill’s fire and police departments where students could don fire and police gear and talk with firefighters and officers. 

I was stationed in between a mortgage company and the Westchester County forensics laboratory. With my computer and iPad loaded to the Peekskill Herald website, I set up a table with tee shirts, stickers, and other Peekskill Herald memorabilia. 

Peekskill Herald display at Career Day.

Students were invited to ask participants questions from a list they carried. This is the part I didn’t expect. I found myself taken off guard by one question in particular. “What led you to choose this career?” 

After a moment of dusting off that part of my career history, I was elated to reply that a seventh grade teacher told my parents that I was a good writer during a parent-teacher conference and they shared that information with me. 

It just so happened that that particular teacher, Vincent Burrano, was one of the few lay people teaching at Assumption School in 1970 and he was most likely the only male teacher. But he was my 7th grade teacher that year and my confidence was bolstered by the good looking Mr. Burrano saying I was a good writer. 

I told the students that learning I was a good writer helped me identify what I wanted to do for a career. I knew I enjoyed talking to people and finding out what was going on with them. Adding those two traits together was how I arrived at journalism as a career.  

Another question the students wanted a suggestion on was whether there were any specific extracurricular activities or clubs that would help prepare for a career.  I shared that when I got to 9th grade at Mary Immaculate School in Ossining there was an after school club for anyone interested in being a correspondent from the school for the local daily newspaper, The Ossining Citizen Register. I signed up for that club and began writing stories for that newspaper about what was happening at my high school. 

Dr. William Toro, assistant principal at Peekskill Middle School said this is the third year of hosting a career fair. There were 36 professions and careers represented. Other participants at the Career Day included artist Emily Bicht who displayed pottery and paintings she created. She was next to Scarlett Antonia from the Artist Spot on South Street. 

Mayor Vivan McKenzie was there with Stephanie Romero from her office. McKenzie is an old pro at career day, and had a handout ready to give students that included information about her. 

Vivian McKenzie had a handout for students.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Mauricio was also at a table with Middle School Principal, Dr. Donald Peters. 

Former mayor Andre Rainey was there, spinning tunes as a disc jockey and letting students work the board. One of the biggest draws was the table with representatives from Ulster Savings Bank. They had a small prize wheel that students spun to win a water bottle, a tee shirt ,or other giveaways. Even though Ulster Savings Bank’s nearest location is in Wappinger Falls, Alejandro Cordova, the banks’ vice president of human resources’ was at the fair. His wife Rebecca, is a teacher at the Middle School. 

Sharon Simmons Wright from Just the Place Creative Arts Center was telling students about her after school programs and retiring Recreation and Parks Director Cathy Montaldo was at her last career day, telling students about upcoming summer programs. 

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante