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Career Day provides a reality check for middle school students

Career day at one Encinitas middle school took on a new meaning Friday. Students heard experiences from adults in professions, including law enforcement, financial planning, and the aerospace industry.

But presenters also gave students at Oak Crest Middle School a reality check on their careers in the current climate of economic insecurity and social justice protests.

"We’re here as an ambassador for the criminal court justice system, and we still feel strongly that it is the most righteous path and righteous profession that you could choose," San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirello said. "To the extent that we can convey that to this new generation that has experienced the last three years.” 


The Oak Crest students are part of the generation that experienced social justice protests, the COVID-19 pandemic, and paralyzing politics that have provided hard lessons from some government leaders, too.

Alex, 13, is an eighth grader who remains hopeful about her future career, whichever one she chooses.

“My parents have taught me I should choose a job that makes me happy. A lot of times, people choose jobs for money and they don’t end up having a very happy life," she said.

M.G. Perez
William, 13, is a 7th-grade student at Oak Crest Middle School. He shows a pig heart that was displayed by a local cardiologist during a career day event, Encinitas, Calif., January 27, 2023

William, 13, is a seventh-grade student. He was in a career session with a local cardiologist who displayed examples of unhealthy hearts and other information about healthcare.


He said he is encouraged about the future despite all of the challenges facing the world at the moment.

“I want to have a family — a positive environment for my kids when I have kids, and I want to be successful for sure,” he said.

Oak Crest is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District — which has recently weathered its own controversies regarding racial remarks and political battles among the district’s leadership.