It was like any school day at Saint Francis High School dedicated to learning, but on this particular day in April, students attended sessions led by alumni and faculty on topics that were practical how-to’s and otherwise wouldn’t be covered in a traditional class.
Lancer alumni returned to their alma mater to talk about what it is like to work in their respective careers and the paths they took to get where they are. Several alumni said they returned specifically because they remembered being inspired by these career talks when they were students.
“In high school, I was in mock trial, and I thought I was going to be pre-law,” said Jenn Perkins ’11, who spoke to a packed room about nursing. “I because a nurse because of my counselor, Sherrie Tasnady, and the alumni talks.”
Rufi Alday ’83 also spoke to a full classroom about his career in sports medicine. He spoke about how his first foray into this field came when former football coach Ron Calcagno asked him to tape his players’ ankles when Alday was still a student.
“I wanted to give back because Saint Francis found something in me I didn’t know I had,” he said.
Junior Anson De Rego enjoyed the alumni sessions he attended, with attorney Brad Libuit ’02 and orthopedic surgeon Jeff Bui ’87 sparking new ideas in him.
“This was a great opportunity to learn about different career choices, and it was great to hear people’s stories. It informs me of what I need to work on if I go into those fields,” he said.
After the alumni speakers came teacher-led sessions designed to give students valuable, practical life skills. Teachers spoke on topics that ran the gamut, such as maintaining a bike or a car, running a company, mastering the basics of personal finance and acing an interview. In addition, there were several sessions that teachers offered simply because the subject matters were fun. There was a demonstration on cupcake decorating, a kazoo orchestra, a session on the statistics of poker and a nature walk around campus, among others.
Students said they enjoyed the change of pace and the opportunity to take a mental break from academics, participating in activities that were engaging, interesting or even silly but all the while still educational.
“Teachers were able to teach something they were passionate about that they normally wouldn’t,” said senior Noah Covarrubias. “This day felt relaxed, and I was able to hang out with my friends.”