Contributed by Jonathan Charette | Martin Luther King High School DECA, CA
There is an inside joke between my fellow DECA officers and me about what it would be like if a 3rd grader were in DECA. This funny thought actually ignited an idea to engage with elementary school students in a new way.
This past year, my partners and I have been working on a career exploration initiative for students inside our school district. Middle and high school students are always the target audience of these events, but elementary school students are always left in the dust. This is a missed opportunity to help students gain career interests early in their academic career, guiding them to a productive and useful career preparation experience.
To combat this, my partners and I wrote and animated three-minute cartoons called "Career Explorers.” In this cartoon, we make ourselves younger with AI-generated children’s voices synced to the characters, creating a smoother animation. Each episode is written to explore a different career and fun facts about the profession. They act as a comedic and childish way to educate students in K-6 about what would be required in those fields, getting them thinking about careers and their education from the very start.
The first episode will premiere on YouTube Kids at a local elementary school at the beginning of January and has currently been screened for a few groups of 3rd graders. We aim to promote all types of careers, from business-related professions to trades. However, we are prioritizing promoting careers with a shortage of workers, such as construction, pilots or teachers.
We learned how to use animation software and websites through our Digital Marketing class, showing how far any skill learned through DECA career clusters can take you, especially when promoting and educating the next generation of emerging leaders.