Professionals Shine Light on Careers

The annual Page Career Fair returned in person this week exposing fifth graders to a variety of career options and offering them a wealth of knowledge from those with experience.

“We want students to start getting ideas about different career options and what it takes for them to achieve those goals,” said Jill Funk Page Elementary school counselor who worked with the Kent Intermediate School District Career Readiness team to organize the event. “Students don’t have to decide what they want to do right now, but it’s good for them to start thinking about it and understanding there are many options.”

Many of the professionals who presented over the two-day program had special ties to the community and many were TK alumni themselves. 

Cade Dammen, a construction superintendent with Owen, Ames, Kimball company said he not only graduated from TK, but he also has helped on many building projects in the district including the recent addition to Page Elementary School and the construction of the new Early Childhood Center. He showed slides of the new ECC building from start to finish.

Other TK Alumni, Dr. Eric Hannapel, an orthodontist; Judge Michael Schipper; Dr. Jayne Courts Hodgson, a medical doctor; and Haley Alverson, a hair stylist, all reminded the fifth graders that at one time they were fifth graders at TK just like them.

“I graduated in 2016 and this is my actual fifth grade classroom I was in,” said Haley Alverson. 

Mike Schipper explained his role as a Barry County Judge. He asked teacher Jake Abbott to help him with a demonstration. Abbott, wearing a hat, glove and necklace, walked into the classroom unannounced during Schipper’s presentation. He made himself seen to all the students then exited without saying a word. 


Schipper continued his presentation then asked students to identify what the fifth-grade teacher was wearing when he came into the classroom. Few correctly identified the items demonstrating what Schipper was explaining about being witnesses to crimes and often seeing different things.


Dr. Jayne Courts Hodgson is a regular presenter and always brings pig lungs every year for her demonstration. She gives students a chance to watch the lungs inflate and allows them to feel the smooth texture of the lungs. She points out different parts of the lungs and says this is all part of her job as a doctor - learning about the human body and all the organs inside. 


Each presenter talked about their job and what they do daily, the education they needed, and what they liked most and least about their jobs. Each fifth-grade student was allowed to choose three different sessions to attend each day and kept a written log of the presenters they saw and their reaction to each one. 


“We’re very happy to be able to have this back at Page in person again,” said Funk. “It is a really good experience for our students and we appreciate all the presenters who take the time to do this.”


Presenters at the 2022 Career Fair

Cade Dammen - Construction Superintendent at Owen, Ames, Kimball

Bill Richardson - Fire Chief at Thornapple Township Emergency Services

Dr. Becca Kursch - Veterinarian at South Kent Veterinary Hospital

Lindsay Vertalka - Physical Therapist with First Rehab & Sport

Sarah Miller - Dance/Movement Therapist at Comprehensive Therapy Center

Lauren Wolfenbarger and Haley Alverson - Cosmetologists at Lox Salon

Dr. Eric Hannapel - Orthodontist at Hannapel Pellillo Orthodontics

Mike Schipper - Judge at Barry County 56-B District Court

Dr. Jayne Courts Hodgson - Medical doctor at Trinity Health Medical Group

Jim Teune - EMC Specialist with E3 Compliance

Meegan Mooney - Interior Designer with GMB Architects and Engineering

Susan VanDuine - Registered Dietitian with S

pectrum Health

Diane Knight - Librarian at Page Elementary 

Sergeant Scott Ware- Barry County Sheriff’s Office

Brian Schneider- Pixel Perfect Videos Games Store Owner