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North Dayton School of Discovery Career Day Helps Students See the Possibilities

Seventh and eighth graders at North Dayton School of Discovery participated in a career day on May 20. The day started with a keynote speaker in the gym.
(L to R): Intervention Specialist Andrea Smith, Keynote Speaker Marquise Burns, and Dean of Middle School Tamara Milner pose for a photo during Career Day.

Entrepreneur Marquise Burns, owner of Burns Brims, a line of high-quality, stylish custom fedoras, was the keynote speaker. Burns spoke to the students about his experiences as a teen and how he got to be what he is today: a successful business owner.
During his keynote presentation, Burns inspired the students to work hard, not to be afraid to be creative, and stay in school. He also discussed the importance of education, and how positive and negative decisions alike, made today, can affect the future.

This was the second time Burns had presented to students at the school, which is in his hometown of Dayton. He also emphasized that it’s important to keep pursuing your dreams, no matter how small they start out. He always enjoys talking to students and encouraging them to stay motivated for whatever they want to do in the future.
He shared stories from when he was a teen, including how he gave himself a big boost of self-confidence when he put on a wide-brim fedora. Two years ago, Burns decided to not just wear cool fedoras but create his own line of them.
 (L to R): Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Staff Sergeants Konstance Richmond and Cassie Liu took time to talk with the students about their career paths.
He was certain men and women alike would appreciate headwear that looks good, and helps the wearer stand out while making themselves feel good – and that prediction has come true. Today, Burns Brims can be seen on all sorts of people, from celebrities like comedian JB Smoove, Joe, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell, CeeLo Green to business owners.
After the keynote speaker, other presenters rotated between four different classrooms. About 100 students had the opportunity to hear from:
  • Lori Brodehel, Registered Nurse
  • Staff Sergeant Konstance Richmond, Wight -Patterson Air Force Base
  • Staff Sergeant Cassie Liu, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Tiffany Edwards, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Quade Milum, current Achievement & Behavior Support Specialist at North Dayton School of Discovery, former Harlem Globetrotter
Organizers Intervention Specialist Andrea Smith, and Seventh and Eighth-Grade English Language Arts Teacher James Elliott see Career Day as a way to help prepare students for college and to be career ready.
 Lori Brodehel, Registered Nurse, talked with the students about different areas of nursing and the types of work shifts nurses can work.

Elliott spent the four days prior to Career Day working with his students on the various aspects of careers. “The students did a career exploration survey to discover their interests,” Elliott said. “We talked about resumes, job applications and the type of information requested on applications. We also practiced doing interviews. I asked them some off-the-wall questions because interviewers like to do that sometimes to see how a person responds when caught off guard.”
For Smith, one of her special education students wants to be his own boss. “So, after Mr. Burns, spoke, my student went up to him to talk with him and tell him what he wants to do. Mr. Burns gave him his contact information, and said keep in touch, and I will invest in your business when you start it. That made my student’s day!”

Both organizers were surprised by the students’ reactions to the staff sergeants from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “Because it was two young women talking about their experience in the Air Force, our young women students were impressed by them,” Elliott said. “One of my students told me she wants to go into the Air Force now. She sees it as a good career. She has a similar background as the sergeants and saw it as something she can do to take care of herself. It made me think we should continue to develop our relationship with Wright Patterson.”

Quade Milum, current Achievement & Behavior Support Specialist at North Dayton School of Discovery, talked with the students about his former career as a Harlem Globetrotter.

Smith and Elliott saw how their students took different bits of information from all their speakers. They agreed that they had a good variety of careers represented in their Career Day. Both agreed that it is nice to get back to some of the regular activities they used to have before COVID.
North Dayton School of Discovery is a free public charter school in Dayton, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more Is information, visit