JARRELL — Kids tend to cherry pick careers when planning the future, but the commercial equipment at Vehicle Day helps them consider broader options.
Vehicle Day is a unique approach to early career education at Jarrell Elementary School. The school solicits local businesses and government agencies to come to school with a vehicle that is necessary for their profession. Participants talk to the kids about what they do, using the car or truck as a visual/kinetic learning aid.
Last week, the students had the opportunity to learn about a firetruck, a farm tractor, a food truck and multiple electric company cherry pickers, among others. Home Depot gave out little orange aprons to everyone, and a state trooper let the children sit in the driver’s seat of his patrol car.
“With our young guys, we wanted it to be something more than just presentations,” school counselor Laura Buckley said. “Being a pre-K through (grade) two campus, it just seemed more involved.”
Tow truck driver Les Sybert has come to Vehicle Day several times. He brought his truck and a beat-up old car to tow as well.
“They’re always interested in what all the different levers are and stuff like that. I like bringing a vehicle that I can actually show them how it picks it up, versus just telling them how it works,” he said.
Sybert said the kids usually ask a lot of questions, with one question popping up more than others: “What happens if I break down?”
The answer is fairly straightforward — “I just call a bigger tow truck.”
Sybert drives for Centex Towing of Georgetown. He has been a tow truck driver for almost 20 years.
The annual event, which has gone on for three years, is designed to be a more tangible, age-appropriate way to have a career fair. Buckley said the fair shows young students they have options.
“They’ve come to realize that there are so many careers that maybe they didn’t even know about, that the careers are doable, they’re reachable, they’re attainable,” she said.
The event makes the members of various professions more relatable.
“(It shows) that they’re real people,” Buckley said. “Sometimes, they even think that teachers aren’t real people, because when they see us in the grocery store they’re like ‘Oh my gosh, you go grocery shopping, too?’”