As they learn to read, write, count and draw within the lines, the class of 2026 at Burton Glen Charter Academy has some definite ideas for their future careers more than a dozen years away.
Parents and their pint-sized grads recently gathered in the gymnasium of the Atherton Road school so a few handfuls of students could don their kindergarten graduation caps and gowns once again, talk about what they want to be when they grow up, and outfit themselves in the attire of their future professions.
Barely able to keep his head up under the weight of a real firefighter's helmet, 6-year-old Ray Randall said he'd like to join the public safety profession, "Because they fight fires and save people's lives and I can get paid."
"If it's fire, I'm fighting it," he smiled.
Six-year-old Riley Ingraham said he's brave enough to fight fires, but would also enjoy one of the perks of the job. "I want to drive a fire truck."
Six-year-old Delisa Butler wants to become a doctor and help deliver children and care for them afterward. Dressed in a white lab coat and stethoscope, Delisa said she wants to help young children "To help save their lives" and "Because they are the easiest things that don't move around a lot."
Having just started her educational career, 7-year-old Kaylynn Boatright has been bitten by the teaching bug in part because of what teachers have helped her learn so far.
"They teach you how to write and color inside the lines," said Kaylynn, clutching a book, ruler and wearing a pair of glasses to mirror her image of a teacher's daily appearance.
Other students let their imaginations run free with their choices. Six-year-old Danielle Walker wants to become a princess, in the likeness of Barbie's Pearl Princess.
"Because they're pretty," Danielle said, but added, "They live in a castle" and get some nice accessories like "a crown and a wand."
Madison Boyce would like to let her creative juices flow, with the 6-year-old wanting to draw pictures and write about fashion but not limiting herself to just one subject.
"You can write about anything you want," said Madison.
Dressed in a Detroit Tigers shirt, 6-year-old Anthony Hawkins-Thomas would like to step up to the plate in the big leagues someday.
"I like to hit balls," Anthony said, whose favorite baseball player of all time is Babe Ruth. He has the Sultan of Swat's quote, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game," etched on his bedroom wall.
With all these aspirations, what did you want to be when you grew up? Any advice for these youngsters as they work toward their goals?