Professionals ‘show love’ for students

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 28, 2018


atchez United, the Natchez-Adams County Education Development Foundation, the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce, and the NASD P-16 Council are very encouraged by the local career professionals who attended our meeting last Tuesday evening. We considered the first planning meeting for our middle school “Showing the Love” Career Day for area students a remarkable success.

As participants began to describe the ideas they discussed, we could picture the excitement we expect from the children. As a middle school student, I know I would have been amazed at the opportunity to climb into a med-evac helicopter, or play on an air traffic controller simulator that operates like a video game; watch an artist use a potter’s wheel to make an amazing piece of pottery and view pieces of art, photos of exotic travel destinations, or architectural artifacts; watch the creation of live floral designs or see robots roaming around throughout the exhibits or drones flying overhead. Or a brief workshop month to teach students how to approach a career in the talent industry from the casting director who is in town for the local movie being filmed in Natchez. These were some of the ideas from just the first night.

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Besides the visual imagery that was created, the pros took it further as they verbalized their “whys” — why they were attracted to their careers! Why their professions were so rewarding — so gratifying. They also began to describe the successes that students can experience through certifications and licenses available to them beginning at the high school level, as well as what it takes to move it to the next levels relative to their career clusters.

It was an amazing scene to see professionals coming together modeling collaborative synergy that crossed career areas, age and racial lines, and religious backgrounds to develop a plan to support our children. These attendees are living the dreams of Dr. King and of Gandhi — working side-by-side to be the change they wish to see in our community.

We look forward to this next Tuesday when we meet again to take the plans further as we realize our goal of “Natchez-Adams County ‘Showing the Love’ for Our Children.” It will be a day for our children to “Find [Their] Passion/Commitment in February.” The planning meetings are our time to “Seek First to Understand” and to “Synergize.” One friend pointed out that Valentine’s Day may be a time that is too busy for some businesses to participate, so we are very open to moving it to the week after Valentine’s. We are very flexible as we hope to make this a win-win for everyone.

As we have indicated, we do plan to align our program development according to the 12 career clusters designated by the Scouts Exploring Clubs:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Aviation
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Fire & EMS
  • Health Care
  • Law & Government
  • Law Enforcement
  • Science
  • Skilled Trades
  • Social Services

You may find more information about these clusters and the Exploring Club programs at

Again, this Tuesday, Jan. 30, and each Tuesday for the next few weeks, we will be hosting a meeting in the ballrooms at the Natchez Grand Hotel to collaborate and expand these plans for presenting the professional landscape of Natchez to our local middle school students. Many local professionals have begun the process; however, we need everyone! We need you! Please come and bring your friends and colleagues — any additional people who you believe would participate and add value to our program.

We also invite teachers, particularly at the middle schools in the area, as well as parents. You are the experts with this age student and will be a unequivocally valuable resources in this process. We would like to have at least two of each for each of the 12 career clusters.
Jeremiah Rios is a member of Natchez United.