McKee Middle School seventh-grader Steven Serna was looking forward to Career Day so much that he was among the first of many students to line up at the Bakersfield Police Department booth Friday morning in the sprinkling rain.
“What’s a typical day look like in your job?” Serna asked police officer Chad Dickson, who responded that his day begins with a briefing.
Serna made sure to take notes because he’s interested in becoming a police officer.
“(Hickman) told me he tries to figure out what needs to happen for the day at the briefing,” Serna said. “Maybe he’ll need to go arrest someone.”
The BPD was among about 30 organizations at the school’s Career Day, attended by about 1,100 students in grades six through eight.
Aera Energy LLC, Ordiz-Melby Architects and the Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards, among others, sent representatives to the event.
Jared Aseltine, a history teacher in his first year at McKee, said he wanted to offer Career Day at the school to give students some direction and ideas for the future. He started a career day at Greenfield Middle School before he moved over to McKee.
“I think it would be beneficial because of where we’re at,” he said. “This general area is a relatively lower-income area.”
Aseltine said having a career plan or some direction before high school is important.
“I wanted to hopefully provide them with some kind of eye-opening experience because I didn’t understand when I was a kid that what you do in high school literally affects you after high school,” he said.
The BPD booth was a popular place on Friday, keeping Hickman busy throughout the event.
Curtis Simpson, a seventh-grader, asked Hickman: What’s the best advice you can give to someone who is interested in becoming a police officer?
“Focus on your education,” Hickman said. “Starting in 2025, if you’re 25 or younger you must have a four-year degree in order to start with the Police Department.”
Aseltine, a former police officer, said he started planning for the Career Day in September. He wants it to be an annual event at the school.