Clifton Park students learn from local professionals

Herald/SARAH MOORE KUSCHELL - Clifton Park Elementary School student Kaila Beach, 10, steps out of a Fort Hood helicopter after investigating the inside as a part of the school’s career day on Friday. Beach said, “I learned a lot. They can even erase everything if they go down so the bad guys don’t get them.”

By Candace Birkelbach

Killeen Daily Herald

Students at Clifton Park Elementary School had a chance to check out some interesting vehicles Friday, and they even got to step into the driver's seat of some.

Each year, the school has a career day and brings in professionals from the community to show students what their jobs are like.

This year, the focus was on careers that use vehicles.

A helicopter flew in to kick off the career day. Other vehicles for kids to explore included a K-9 police vehicle, a hearse, a crane, a Hummer from a local auto dealership, a fire truck, an 18-wheeler, a trash truck and a school truck.

For the K-9 police demonstration, students were able to see how a police dog is trained to attack people and find bombs. Students learned that there are only 400 such dogs in the military.

Students also learned that humans aren't the only ones deployed to Iraq. Currently, about eight dogs from Fort Hood are serving their time in Iraq.

Ada Martinez, parent liaison at Clifton Park, said the career day helps get kids motivated to investigate possible careers and see what their futures could be.

Martinez said the visual devices, like vehicles, are good tools for students because they can see and touch what they are learning.

"It becomes real and students think, 'I can do that,'" Martinez explained.

Tora Haws, physical education teacher, said the day is a good way for students to feel relief after state skills testing, or TAKS.

Haws said the career day serves as a venue for students to see what the possible fruits of their labor can be if they work hard in school.

Chief Warrant Officer-4 Santiago Torres said the career day steers students in the right direction. "At this age, they're impressionable," Torres said.

Torres said the professionals who come to speak are good role models for students.

Contact Candace Birkelbach at or (254) 501-7553.

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