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Community Members Discuss Careers, Education with Elementary Students for Role Model Day

Students at Blackshear Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District learned the ins and outs of presiding over a courtroom, serving their city as an elected official and even upholding the law as a police officer, when more than 60 community leaders visited their campus Friday, Jan. 25, to discuss their careers. 

For 15 years, Blackshear has hosted Role Model Day, an educational, community-strengthening event designed to introduce students to career options and to help them make real-world connections between what they are learning in the classroom and its importance to their futures. 

Community leaders discussed their careers and educational background with students, sharing why they chose their professions and what their day-to-day duties involve. Speakers also showcased photographs, videos of projects, websites, uniforms and equipment they use as part of their work.

"Role Model Day provides an excellent opportunity for our East Austin students and some of Austin's esteemed community leaders to personally interact in a way that they may otherwise be unable to do," said Amanda Braziel, librarian at Blackshear. "Students are exposed to a wide variety of jobs and a diverse group of adults who can answer questions and give firsthand feedback on the importance of education. Children make real-world connections to what they're learning in the classroom and get a glimpse at the value of education to their futures. Community members, in turn, have an eye-opening chance to see our wonderful students' minds and personalities in action and to briefly assume the role of teachers."

Guest speakers during the event included AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo, firefighters, lawyers, bankers, business owners, police officers and park rangers.

The event was created by Margarine Beaman, a community benefactor and East Austin business owner.

In addition to the event for first through fifth graders, pre-K students and kindergartners at Blackshear had the opportunity to visit with firefighters and police officers as part of their study of community workers this week.