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Glenfield’s Annual African American Career Day

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Group shot of all participants in Glenfield's African American Career DayAll the African American professionals who took part in Glenfield's annual African American Career Day gather together for a group photo.

While Glenfield Middle School’s annual African American Career Day usually takes place during February’s Black History Month, snow postponed the event until April 29. More than 30 professionals gathered for the 12th annual celebration, bringing members of the community to Glenfield to speak to students about their professions and offer advice.

Before they headed out to classrooms, Principal Joseph Putrino, spoke to the participants. “This is a tremendous school-wide event and one of my favorites. The students get to see the passion that you’re sharing, but after the event, I get to see their reaction and hear the conversations in the hallways and the lunchroom. You inspire them.”

African American Career Day is coordinated by Glenfield’s Whitney Gibbs (SAC) and Syreeta Carrington (Social Studies), parent coordinators Sidney Simon, Dana Hawkins-Simons, Nicole Gray, Amy Pretto along with Glenfield staff members Isabel Aguero, Sandy Hunter, Catherine Kondreck, Harriett Parker, Rhonda Copeland-Smith, Rosalind Thompson, Margaret Whitsett and Emmett Murphy.

Portraits of participantsFrom left to right: Andrea McClean; Shane Fuller; Christa Rapoport, Esq.; Dr. David Wellington.

“This is my second year,” said Shane Fuller of Them Cloud Kids, Inc. “I want to be a positive representation of the African American community. It’s important for students to see someone close to them in age doing positive things and reinforcing youth empowerment.” Added Andrea McClean of Them Cloud Kids, Inc., “It’s really important for kids to see us being successful and encouraging them to do the same thing.”

Christa Rapoport, Esq. said she is “encouraged by talking to young ladies who tell me I made a difference so I am happy to be here to tell these students how they can get here.”

Dr. David Wellington of Well Pet Animal Hospital was participating for the first time. “Growing up I wasn’t exposed to veterinarians so I want to be able to share my experiences with them and give them a possible career option they would not have considered.”

Participants in the event.From left to right: Matilda Williams; Parent coordinator Sidney Simon with members of the Montclair Fire Department.

Matilda Williams, librarian at the Montclair Public Library said “I’m one of the older ones who can tell a story. It’s important to let students see that you can start from nothing and become something.”

On hand were members of the Montclair Fire Department Jaquan Scott, Kevin Green and Deputy Chief Robert Duncan who said “It’s always good for members of the community to learn about what we do and it’s an opportunity for students to get up close and personal with firefighters and ask questions about the job.”

More participants in Genfield's annual event.From left to right: Dr. Folorunsho Edobor-Osula; Denise Patrick and  Dr. Juli-Ann Royes Russo; Parent coordinator Nicole Gray and Dr. Estelle Williams; Michele Mullings, Dana Hawkins-Simons, Adrienne Felder.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Folorunsho Edobor-Osula, who brought her young daughter Isokea to the event, said “I’m here to encourage young people and tell them they can be anything they want to be. When I was in college I had a mentor who was an African American orthopedic surgeon and she was a big influence on me so I’m hoping I can be that influence to these students.”

Author Denise Patrick has participated in African American Career Day for many years. Her four sons went to Glenfield and she said she likes to come back to encourage students to write. Dr. Juli-Ann Royes Russo, a marine biologist planned on telling kids about fields in science.

Michele Mullings said she was going to speak to students about marketing and advertising, and hoped to give exposure to the field and hopefully spark their interest. Mullings is pictured with Glenfield coordinator Dana Hawkins-Simons (middle) and Adrienne Felder, owner of Architect Studios, LLC.

Other participants who were happy to share their expertise and insight with students:

Jerry Simon, IT Manager, Brother to Brother, Travis Davis, Montclair Police Department and Chris Smith, VP Pershing LLC.

Chris Craig, architect, C Visions Design and Daniel Purefoy, VP Strategy and Engineering at Michael Kors.  

More attendees at Glenfield's eventFrom left to right: Jerry Simon, Travis Davis and Chris Smith at the table; standing, Chris Craig and Daniel Purefoy.

Updated: 5/4/2017