By Steve Sears
On Wednesday, May 20, the Riverdale Public School held is first Virtual Career Day.
“Our Board of Education created a new committee this year called the Community Relations Committee,” says second year Principal Paul Kobliska. “Their goal has been to improve community and school collaboration and offer students opportunities to enhance learning. A Career Day was planned for April. When schools were closed, we pivoted and decided we could still accomplish this event virtually.”
“Accomplish” they did, as students in grades 6 – 8 listened to provided advice and wisdom through Google Meet from the following: Riverdale Police officer Mike Reilly; Real Estate Agent Tina Cali; Author Susan Joy Clark; FBI Agent Patricia Revis; Sports Agent Alex Ott; Mike Rudge of Rudge Automotive Services & Payton Autobody; Performer Renae Semeraro (AKA “Melody Mom”); Pequannock High School teacher, Robert Lockatell; Medical Affairs Manager, Janine Sampong; and New Jersey Red Bulls soccer trainer, Grant Findlay.
Kobliska says the event is critical for the young, developing minds as they look towards their future. “A Career Fair always provides students great value as it opens their minds to opportunities they can pursue in the future. As students approach high school this may help them make decisions about courses to explore and jobs to seek out. This year, the Virtual Career Day also served as a nice break from our Remote Learning experience. Additionally, they were able to be part of large virtual meetings with peers from different grades, peers, and friends they saw regularly before COVID-19, but now may not have seen in quite some time.” He then adds, “We will do another Career Day next school year – hopefully in person!”
“When I became a (school) board member it was important to me to have as much community involvement as possible. We are a small town with lots of love,” says Jill Morano. “We started a committee designated to this. I am the chair of the Community Relations Committee for the Riverdale Board of Education. This is one of the events I wanted to have for the school, it was planned to take place prior to the shut down as an in-person event. It is important to me and the rest of the board to let the kids know that even though the school building may be closed, we are still open for business. So, I had to make this event happen. Hence the Virtual Career Day was created. I am not that computer savvy, but I am a people person and can plan and imagine. Paul is my dream maker if you will. He created all the links and the student schedules. We make a great team.”
Clark (www.susan-joy-clark.com), who is the author of the Jack Donegal Mystery series, was approached by Morano to take part. “She contacted me via my website and asked me if I would participate in Virtual Career Day. They wanted to do something encouraging for the kids now that they were doing this remote learning.”
Morano says all involved needed the special event as a fun and interesting reprieve. “The kids needed a break from the day to day routine and to know that there are options out there; the staff needed it to know that the board and the administrators and the community is all in this together to help them; and the presenters I think even took something away from it.”
Clark indeed did. “It made me feel really good, and they had some really interesting questions for me afterwards.”
“This is my second year here and I love this place!” states Kobliska. “Riverdale is a tight-knit community that takes great pride in working together, helping their neighbor, being their best, and giving back.”