Career Day 2022 at BCA

Brannon Zee

On November 23rd, 2022, Bergen County Academies hosted Career Day for the third-time welcoming nearly 100 speakers to the BCA campus. For two hours, students heard from alumni who spoke about their education, occupation, and overall journey from BCA to various careers. Unlike traditional Career Days at other schools, all of the speakers were BCA alumni, creating a unique, informative, and fulfilling experience for students.

When the alumni first returned to BCA, they were welcomed on a tour around the school, visiting both familiar and new classrooms. Over time, new facilities, technology, and wings have been added to the campus, which impressed alumni who have not visited BCA for several years. Many alumni even recognized past peers, friends, and teachers.

Afterward, the alumni spoke to current students in four thirty-minute sessions that students had previously selected. From mainstream media actresses to business professionals, all students had the opportunity to explore what careers interested them and where a BCA education could lead them in the future.

As the first Career Day since the pandemic, the Academy Chronicle was interested in what students thought about the experience. A survey was sent asking attendants how enjoyable and informative the event was, the number of sessions they attended related to their academy, and what the most and least enjoyable parts of the day were.

Overall, the results were mostly positive as many students found the event both enjoyable and informative. On a scale from 1-5, with 1 being the least enjoyable and 5 being the most, 85% of students answered with a 3 or above.

On the same scale, 87.5% of students answered with a 3 or above when asked how informative Career Day was.

Out of the many aspects of Career Day, most students found the speakers to be extremely relatable, interesting, and passionate. Many students were not expecting the level of interaction in each session, as every speaker used a different and unique approach to engage students, ranging from simply asking questions to distributing snacks and samples. Even alumni who followed similar career paths created entirely different environments for students as they spoke in completely different ways about their careers.

“I had two [sessions] about Google where both speakers had two drastically different jobs and did entirely different things even though they worked for the same company,” said Jeannelle Tellado, a sophomore in ATCS. “I really enjoyed seeing two different perspectives of Google.”

Another aspect of Career Day was the wide range of sessions offered. Students were encouraged to explore subjects outside of their current interests, with only 22.5% of respondents attending three or more sessions within their academy.

For example, many students outside of AVPA-T were interested in listening to Sarah-Nicole Robles, who spoke about her experience going from a student in AVPA-T to Luz Noceda’s voice actress in The Owl House.

“Even though I’m not in the Theater Academy, I still am interested in theater and enjoyed hearing about her experiences,” said Beatrice Song, a sophomore in AVPA-V. “Some things, especially about her career path, were interesting to know!”

However, many students wished the presentations focused more on the speaker’s journey from BCA into their career, rather than their current occupation.

“I did not enjoy [it] when certain presenters focused more on what they did in their job than how they got to that point,” answered one respondent. “As teenagers, we would gain more from hearing about how someone progressed from high school onward.”

Ashley Johnson, a sophomore in ATCS, added: “While it was enjoyable and insightful to hear about the alumni’s current professions it would’ve been nice for them to connect their experiences to BCA more and therefore keep the audience intrigued since the students can connect their own lives to the experiences the alumni described.”

Despite these suggestions, 97.5% of respondents, an overwhelming majority, still agreed that BCA should continue hosting Career Day. Many students, who had not experienced Career Day previously because of the pandemic, were pleasantly surprised by the event which offered both an educational and fun experience.

“I find that BCA is composed of many talented and goal-oriented people, which is what makes the careers of BCA alumni so impressive and admirable,” Isha Tyagi, a sophomore in ATCS, summarized. “We as BCA students are able to connect to our alumni on Career Day because of similar experiences we have shared. While other high schools may also have career days, none will compare to BCA’s tight-knit and dedicated community.”