Even before 8 a.m., Will Yetvin was excited to be at school. He expected to learn new things, meet new people and, most of all, get new ideas for his future.
Will, 17, a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, was one of 170 students from B-CC and the British School of Washington participating in Career Partnership Day on Thursday. The plan was for students to visit one of 58 businesses who signed up to share the ins and outs of their workplaces.
Will was going to spend the day at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.
“It was an amazing opportunity, it’s a government facility, so you usually don’t have access to it and I’ll get to meet [people with] great minds,” he said as his group left B-CC for Goddard.
He was no less enthusiastic at the end of the day. It far exceeded his expectations, Will said.
His group was hosted by a chief technologist who oversees internal research and development, he said. The group got to see the “clean room” where the James Webb telescope is being built.
The Webb telescope is the next generation of the space telescope following the Hubble Telescope, which has been in operation since 1990.
“That was cool,” he said.
But he is not sure space science will be a career direction for him.
Laura Dodge, also a senior at B-CC, believes she had found her calling after spending the day at the Audubon Nature Preschool in Chevy Chase.
“I realized that job is exactly what I want to do,” she said. “It’s a combination of environmental-based education and working with [preschoolers].
I know I want to be a teacher and I’ve always had a connection to nature, but I never knew [the combination] was a possibility.”
Career Partnership Day has been a staple at B-CC for 21 years. This was the first year students from the British School of Washington participated.
The day was sponsored in partnership with Junior Achievement and The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, which helps Stacy Farrar, an internship coordinator at B-CC, recruit businesses willing to share their time.
“We know what the kids want to do and we work hard to get businesses on board.” Farrar said.
This year, opportunities ranged from A — A Wider Circle, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate poverty — to, well, almost Z. The Washington Post was the last in the alphabetical listing of businesses.
In between, students could explore work in the arts, finance, medicine, communication, hospitality, real estate, government, public safety, law, fitness and design.
“It’s great recruitment for the businesses,” Chelsea Soneira of Junior Achievement said. “These are people with top-down experience. They know what the jobs are and [tell the students] how to get there.”
Karen Green, Will’s mother, who was a volunteer at the event, mentioned a few benefits of the day beyond looking at careers and deciding yes or no.
“There are a lot of life skills they [maybe] haven’t been exposed to, like dressing up for the day or writing a thank you note, not an email, to their hosts — really simple things, but important,” she said.