Brookfield Students Want to Be Passionate About Careers

BROOKFIELD, Ohio – A lot of uncertainty can go into choosing a career, but a group of Brookfield middle school students say they’re certain jobs should be about passion and not money.

“If you’re making a lot of money but don’t enjoy doing what you’re doing, it’s just going to be like throwing money away because you’re not enjoying it. So, what’s the point in doing it?” said eighth-grader Reanna Reardon. “If you love what you’re doing, it means so much more.”

She found her passion as a little girl when she painted her grandmother’s nails and styled her mother’s hair. Reardon is confident that being a cosmetologist after high school is her dream job.

“Being happy with what you’re doing is so much more important than getting a bunch of money because money doesn’t bring happiness,” said sixth-grader Jacob Hodge. “You’ve got to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do its going to be like school or jail or something. You’re gonna wake up every morning and be like, ‘Ugh.’ ”

During a student panel hosted Thursday by The Business Journal, 14 Brookfield students in grades five through eight shared their thoughts on everything from their futures to social and cultural concerns and taking better care of the environment.

Listening to Mahoning Valley students share their concerns, dreams and what is needed to keep them from leaving after graduation is part of The Business Journal’s Brain Gain: Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development. Student panels are set for next week in Springfield and Campbell.

The students were selected by the school for participation in the discussion that was closed to the public. The group was honest and insightful, asking for further explanation on some questions and diving deep into issues beyond homework and careers. They voiced a genuine interest in the environment and said issues like recycling are important to them.

Eighth-grader Reanna Reardon talks about her dream of being a cosmetologist while classmate Telly Hamilton listens.

Unlike other students interviewed for the Brain Gain coverage, most of the Brookfield panelists didn’t say they couldn’t find anything to do outside of school. Whether it’s spending time with animals on a farm, riding motocross, hunting, participating in sports or dance, these kids are active. That’s not to say they’re willing to give up their cell phones, video games and online time, but being outdoors is important, too.

All 14 students said they want to go to college. When asked about pursuing a career in trades, they were silent until learning that trades meant jobs like construction, auto mechanics, welding, etc.

Some voiced interested in becoming mechanics or going into construction like some of their family members. Hodge and Justin Budnik ride motorcross and have learned mechanical skills while performing maintenance on their motor bikes.

Both are interested in becoming super cross (motorcycle) riders. Budnik already races competitively in motorcross.

But if becoming a professional racer doesn’t work out, Hodge said he thinks it “would be cool” to become a news reporter while Budnik said he already has been learning welding skills from his father.

Budnik, eighth grade, put his welding skills to work when he made his mother a gift for Mother’s Day.

“It was a flower holder that said, ‘I love you mom,’ and I made a heart with a plasma cutter and I cut it out,” Budnik explained.

Andrew Drummond is confident in becoming a game warden. The sixth-grader likes being in the woods, hunting and fishing. He wants to crack down on people illegally hunting out of season and people who litter, especially in wooded areas.

“I want to help the community and the environment so it will be stable for the next generation so there’s still nature and stuff,” he said. “People can do better.”

Mia D’Allessandro wants nothing more than to become a veterinarian. “Because of my love of animals and being vegetarian,” she said.

Fifth-graders Kenleigh Kurpe, Raquel Guthrie-Morton and Peter Odell raise their hands in response to a question.

Peter Odell said he plans on becoming a psychiatrist. The fifth-grader has some specific reasons for his passion of wanting to help people.

“I just want to help people in the country, to help them not want to do things like suicide or shootings at a school because there are many innocent kids who want to do things that don’t want to be harmed or be disturbed because someone has mental problems,” he said.

Most the kids said they want to stay in the area because they want to be near family. Others want to leave to go to college, but said they would like to eventually return to their hometown.

As the panel was wrapping up, the kids were asked if they felt they are heard when they speak to adults. A few responded “No.”

After the panel, a small group of students were candid about why they don’t think their voices are heard. They don’t believe adults want to listen to their views, they said.

When asked what kids want, Reardon responded, “Just to listen to our opinions.”

Read more on the first round of student panel discussions in the Growth Report. Subscribe now to get your copy.

Pictured above: Jeremy Lydic, content manager with The Business Journal, moderated the student panel on Thursday. Students included (from left) eighth-graders Justin Budnik, Telly Hamilton and Reanna Reardon, seventh-graders Christian Davis, Yusef Rasoul and Delaney Schultz, sixth-graders Andrew Drummond and Jacob Hodge, and fifth-graders Mia D’Allessandro, Kenleigh Kurpe, Raquel Guthrie-Morton, Peter Odell and Caleb Upshir.

Editor’s Note: Student panel discussions are intended to hear honest feedback from students on their interests, aspirations and concerns. Statements made by students are their opinions and are not subjected to fact-checking or the solicitation of responses from school district leadership.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.