Students explore career paths during Marion Occupation Day

Feb 15, 2023


MARION —  Sippican School student Sophia Zhou, 12, already knows what she wants to be when she grows up — she wants to be an environmental lawyer, and already has some experience making arguments. 

“Sometimes I practice [arguments] with my dad,” she said. “We will just pick a world issue and argue about it for some time.”

Zhou said that between her love of research and involvement with class debates, she has the skills needed for the job. 

“I love making fair arguments,” she said. “I remember I had a very long argument with my brother to convince him to watch ‘Tangled.’” 

Still, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, she attended “Marion Occupation Day” at Sippican School with the rest of the sixth-grade class. 

According to Johanna Vergoni, who volunteers at Sippican School, Marion Occupation Day has been a tradition for over 30 years.

“I remember coming in when I was a student,” she said with a laugh.

Now a new generation of Sippican School Students has a chance to learn from the community and explore different career paths.

“It’s not just something that they are seeing on TV,” said Vergoni.  

Some students, like 11-year-old Oliver Wade, have many interests that they hope to explore at Marion Occupation Day. 

“I want to go into something with technology,” said Wade, who wants to be an engineer.

“As an engineer you have to persevere because sometimes when you're building something it doesn’t work out the first time and you have to try again,” he said.

Wade, who has played soccer for most of his life, said that athletes possess similar skills. 

“You have to be dedicated and practice as much as you can,” he said, noting that he would also be happy to be a professional soccer player. 

Firefighting, dental hygiene and health instruction were only some of the careers represented at Occupation Day.

“We try to get a good variety,” Vergoni said. “College might not be your path. The trades are also a possibility.”

Ashley Sadler, executive chef at the Beverly Yacht Club, represented the trades with a cooking demonstration that attracted students from across the auditorium.

“Something smells delicious,” said one student as she approached Sadler’s table while eyeballing the melting cheese. 

“We are cooking grilled cheese today but I am also talking about the different components that go into hospitality and cooking,” said Sadler. 

According to Sadler, academic subjects like science and math appear every day in her line of work — an idea that she tried to get across to students while grilling up a tasty sandwich. 

According to Vergoni, the Marion Occupation Day helps students understand how their coursework will apply to their career.

In Sadler’s case, she uses math to price her menus, putting the cost of ingredients against the price of her food.

“It’s kind of hard to visualize what you can do outside of school from courses,” she said. “This helps illustrate it.” 

Unfortunately for students like Zhou and Wade, there were no environmental lawyers or soccer players present at Marion Occupation Day to link coursework with careers. 

Still, Zhou and Wade got the chance to learn about other careers that align with their interests and skills.

“The goal is to have [students] know that if they have an interest in something, then they can pursue it,” said Vergoni.