WV high schoolers pick up career hacks from Rotarians

Hundreds of junior and senior high school students from 43 schools in the region were given career advice by professionals from the Rotary Club of Iloilo in a two-pronged career virtual convo held this June.

The free DepEd-backed literacy project was divided into two phases—Career Tracking Convo for JHS students held in June 2 at 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., and Career Pathing Convo for SHS students held in June 3 at 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Participants from the six provinces in Region VI were able to listen first to the success stories of the sharers and to throw questions to the latter to shed light more on their career interests, concerns, and plans. School administrators, teachers, and guidance facilitators also participated the said events.

“It is refreshing to hear success stories from accomplished Rotarians,” guidance counselor Maria SP Cuñada of Capiz said, adding, “they inspire young ones to explore viable career choices with the proper attitude for success.”

A junior high school (JHS) student from a special education school in Iloilo also affirmed this observation. She said, “the convo has aided me to consider a strand that suits my passion that would eventually define my mission, vocation, and profession in life.” A senior high school (SHS) student from a private Catholic school in Negros Occidental also resonates with this saying, “one helpful lesson I got from the talk was to really know first what one loves and values, then faithfully commit to a practically well-aligned goal that one has to set for oneself.”

Meanwhile, a lady SHS student from a university in Iloilo also shared that she “enjoyed the whole process…it was so helpful for the career that I am aiming to pursue.” The most impactful insight she got was “to continuously improve ourselves, most especially in turning our weaknesses into strengths or opportunities, instead of just giving up on it.”

The following Rotarians were able to share their career stories as students up to their present line of business: Dr. W. Michael Posecion, Dr. Wilangelo Mana-ay, Dr. Jaime Manila, Dr. Gerald Jones Berondo, Engr. Jesus Anayas, Engr. Joshua Fuentes, Engr. Butch Muyco, Mr. Gerry Binayas, Mr. Lydio Pedregosa, Mr. Francis Allan Angelo, and Mr. Jack Tanaleon. Rotarian Dr. Herman Lagon, a licensed guidance counselor, facilitated the convos.

The Daily Guardian editor-in-chief and outgoing club president Angelo, for his part, told the participants that: “Attitude defines everything. We may plan our plan, or fate may have something in store for us, but our mindset and emotional disposition matter the most in our future’s outcome.”

When asked about his tip on how to sieve through one’s career options, orthopedic surgeon and incoming club president Mana-ay suggested: “Put up a list of what career paths you are interested in and good at. Do your own research. Gather all the relevant data including curricular coverage, scholarship opportunities, culture and offerings of top performing schools or courses, demands in the market, and career trends. Level off with your parents and close relatives. Ask respected and relevant personalities and professionals in the community which may include your teachers, advisers, and guidance counselors. Watch career talks, vlogs, or do-it-yourself guides. Discern deeply by objectively weighing in the pros and cons of your options in the light of prayer. Then, make the choice and commit to it as the ultimate decision must come from you.”

Rotarian banker and past club president Pedregosa, on the other hand, shared his realization on how he was able to breeze through jobs both in the government and private sectors. He said: “It’s not by money alone that we thrive, but by the meaning, significance, and satisfaction that we get from our job. It’s from the core values of service, trust, excellence, and professionalism that we uphold and live by that we derive happiness and pride. It’s in our social mission accomplished that we find true fulfillment and sheer joy which is the very essence of living purposefully.”

It takes a 17-year-old student-participant from Mambusao National High School to somehow capsulize the overall narrative of the convo. He said: “Listening and learning from the lens of accomplished professionals from different fields have helped us arrange our career goals more wisely despite the pandemic. This will surely come in handy when we ultimately decide what career to pursue in few months to come.”

This set of career convos, to note, is one of the many projects of the 89-year-old Rotary Club of Iloilo, the mother club of Rotary International District 3850. It is a response to one of the areas of focus of the club which is basic education and literacy.

“The end of the school year is considered one of the most crucial career milestones for a completing or graduating student, yet many of our high school students may still be uncertain, confused, or unmindful of their career track as they proceed to senior high school, tertiary education, or vocational, or entrepreneurial path,” project head Lagon said, adding, “this is the very reason why we thought of organizing these career sessions.”

“Considering the excellent feedback we got from the participants, we feel that this career convo needs to be done regularly to respond to a constant demand for career guidance and counseling from the basic education sector. We hope to partner with more schools and institutions in the future to make this project more institutional, relevant, and accessible.” (Text and Photos by Herman M. Lagon/Rotary)