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Kindergartner Breanna McDevitt, 5, shows no fear in reaching out to pet a boa constrictor Thursday, which was displayed for pupils at Naples Elementary School for Career Day.

Kindergartner Breanna McDevitt, 5, shows no fear in reaching out to pet a boa constrictor Thursday, which was displayed for pupils at Naples Elementary School for Career Day. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Youth isn’t always wasted on the young.

At 7 years old, Alex Hermosura doesn’t yet know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he said he knows the value of education and he’s old enough to consider all options.

“You’re never too young, not really,” Alex said Thursday as he wound his way through the various Career Day booths set up in the Naples Elementary School gym.

“Even at 7, you might want to start thinking about a job,” the second-grader said.

Ditto, said guidance counselor Joanne Benedetto. “Children are never too young to be exposed to the world of work,” she said.

Through the Partnership in Education Program, which links schools with their local business communities, pupils are exposed to a smattering of career options.

On Thursday at Naples Elementary, pupils whet their appetites on presentations from culinary workers to doctors and nurses, aviators, firefighters, sonar technicians, news media members and musicians, to name a few.

“This shows them that the subjects they’re learning in school, and the fact that they need to develop good study habits, be good team players, get homework done and on time, be good citizens, that all of this relates to how they’ll live their adult lives,” Benedetto said.

“And [career day] serves to dispel stereotypes, like myths that only girls can go into nursing or only boys in engineering and science fields. This shows them they have choices and can do anything they want to do,” she said.

Madeline Powell already knows she wants to enter the world of news media, said the 9-year-old. “I think it would be cool,” Madeline said.

Why? “I don’t know. I just want to be on TV.” Why not become an actress then? She giggles. “I want to be something serious.”

Then she reconsiders. “But both would be cool, I guess. I’ve been in a lot of plays and I’m trying out for ‘Annie.’”

Over a two-day period, all of the children at Naples Elementary are exposed to career options, even the youngest in kindergarten, Benedetto said. “At this age, they’re like sponges. They’re very impressionable.”

And it’s important for the pupils to see the adults pitching their jobs, and having fun at it, she said. “They need to see work isn’t something to be endured. The kids get to see work is fun,” Benedetto said.

And fun is just what 5-year-old Breanna McDevitt said she was having when she extended her small hand to pet a sand-colored boa constrictor slithering in the arms of handler Marcello Valentini. “It was fun because he didn’t bite me.”


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