Saco Middle School student Lindsay Desroberts was among grade-eight students attending a career presentation Friday, Feb. 14 where those representing 40 career paths talked to students about their jobs. Tammy Wells Photo

SACO — As early as high school, students begin taking courses geared to their interests and their possible future career. So Friday’s career day for eighth graders at Saco Middle School came at a good time.

On Feb. 14, students listened to and asked questions of people working in an array of careers, from athletic coaching to physical therapy, property management to website design, and a whole lot more. In all, people representing 40 career fields took turns talking to students about what they do and then answered questions.

Those who want to follow in the footsteps of University of New England Athletics Director Kurt Smyth, who has been at UNE for 23 years, the first 10 as the women’s basketball coach, and the rest in administration, should know that they won’t have a typical 9 to 5, five day a week job. He told students that except for the summer months, he works most Saturdays and some Sundays, and two to three weeknights each week — it is just the reality of what the job entails.. He noted entry level coaches earn $35,000-$40,000 annually, with most Division 3 coaches earning $50,000 to $60,000. Administrators earn $70,000 to $100,000, he estimated.

Smyth also gave advice that would apply to anyone pursuing any career.

“Immerse yourself in whatever you’re passionate about,” he said.

Adam Leatherbee talked to students about his job in hotel management for Migis Hotel Group in Portland. He’s been in the business for 20 years.


An entry level job in the industry is “a great way to get started,” he said, because an employee can work their way up the career ladder.


Eric Butts and Michael Harder and other eighth-grade students at Saco Middle School took part in a career fair Friday, Feb. 14 where 40 people from different career paths talked about their jobs. Tammy Wells Photo

By mid-morning on Friday, student Abby Binette said she’d listened to presentations from a property manager,

a therapist and Smyth, the athletic director. The presentations were “cool,” she said.

But none of them swayed her decision on what she wants to do in the future. “I want to have my own bakery,” Binette said.

Abby Binette was among grade-eight students at Saco Middle School who heard career representatives talk about their jobs during presentations on Friday. Tammy Wells Photo

Lindsay Desroberts also knows where’s she’s headed.


“I want to be a coach for college softball,” said Desroberts of her future plans. Desroberts coaches her sister’s Little League team. “I really like coaching,” she said. She plans to earn a teaching degree as well as  pursue a coaching career.

Others are continuing to explore what they might want to do. Students Eric Butts and Michael Harder both said they don’t know what path they’ll choose.

Another student wasn’t sure what he careers he wants to pursue, but he knew one thing, for sure.

“Something active,” he said, “It can’t be boring, on a computer.”

As well as  learning about potential careers, the presentations were designed to help students with a research project, said teacher Noelle Gallant, one of the career fair organizers. She said the eighth-grade students would soon be embarking on a project called the I-Search, where they’ll read, research, and answer a research question that personally fascinates them.

“Many of our students will select topics related to future careers, and we are hopeful that this career fair will allow students to explore some career options that they never considered before, so that they might investigate these fields in more depth as a research project,” Gallant said.




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