Jackson Anbush, 12, of New Market isn’t certain yet what career he wants to pursue when he gets older.
But, after hearing Detective Randy Kucsan, a Montgomery County Police Department homicide detective, speak at New Market Middle School about his job, the sixth-grader has some more ideas.
“If I don’t make it into the NFL or go to college, [homicide detective] might be my pick,” he said.
Jackson was one of about 30 students who signed up Friday to participate in a 40-minute session led by the detective during the school’s first Career Day.
Students learned about the process of crime-scene fingerprinting as they watched their fellow classmate, Cassie King, 14, an eighth-grader at the school, lift her fingerprint from the back of a compact disc.
“It was pretty cool,” Cassie said of the exercise. “I’ve seen shows [about law enforcement], and I’ve seen what they do, but I have never had anyone talk to me about what it’s really like.”
Kucsan, father of a seventh-grader at the middle school, said that he’s glad to give students a taste of what it’s like to be a detective.
“Crime-scene investigation is a booming career, especially because of all of the [law enforcement] shows out now, and a lot of it is very interesting,” he said. “I think if kids can latch onto something that’s interesting [like this], it’s a good thing.”
Kucsan’s was one of 21 adult volunteers, representing a myriad of career possibilities, who spoke during Career Day.
“The purpose of the day is to hopefully spark something in the students,” said Jo Branham, an eighth-grade teacher at the school and organizer of Career Day. “It’s pretty hard to get through school if you don’t have dreams.”
As part of the event, each of the school’s 500 students had the opportunity to learn about careers in different fields, including nursing, criminal justice, and law and engineering, by signing up for individual sessions that interested them.
“We wanted to give them a choice,” Branham said.
Not only were students able to explore their possible futures as adults, but also as future high school students. In the middle-school gymnasium, students visited about a dozen stations, where they learned about the programs offered to high school students at the Frederick County Career and Tech Center, or FCTC.
The center prepares students to enter the work force after graduation by providing them with education and entry certification in fields such as cosmetology, automotive technology and health care.
High school students enrolled in a center program attend classes in their chosen field for a half of every school day for at least two years, in addition to attending their regular high school classes. Students earn high school credit, as well as college credit and industry standard certifications for completing their programs.
At a small table on the right side of the gymnasium, Kristi Senft, 15, a sophomore at Linganore High School, and Shelby Smith, 15, a Frederick High School sophomore, could be seen teaching middle-school students how to take off latex gloves smeared with shaving cream.
“We’re teaching them how to take their gloves off with out getting bodily fluids on them,” Kristi said.
Both girls are studying to get their nursing and geriatric nursing assistant certifications at the center, with the hope of becoming registered neonatal nurses someday.
This is the first year for both Kristi and Shelby in the program. Kristi, a graduate of New Market Middle School, said that it’s important for the middle school students to know what the FCTC has to offer.
“When I was in middle school I didn’t know about [the FCTC],” she said. “It’s almost too late for [middle school] students to get into [a program] once they get to high school, so its important for them to know about [the FCTC] now.”