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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Working Wonders Mountain View Middle School Plays Host To Dozens Of Professionals, Who Enthrall Students With Stories From The Working World.

The stethoscopes were cool. Kids got to listen to their own hearts. The cake decorating was fun, too, for obvious reasons - the kids got to eat their own work. The skydivers were popular, too, no surprise.

The second annual Career Day at Mountain View Middle School pulled about 70 professionals into the school Thursday to talk with sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders.

The array of careers was vast: auto mechanics to acupuncture, ski patrol to social worker, football player to firefighter.

The action careers and hands-on presentations generally drew good reviews from the kids.

Steven Baker’s first try listening to his own heart with a stethoscope was a bit off. He stood there for a few minutes listening, then looked up with big eyes. “I must be dead,” the sixthgrader said.

A team of smoke jumpers enthralled the kids. Not only did they stage two jumps onto Mountain View’s spacious playing fields. One jumper also demonstrated how tough their suits are, capable of protecting them from much injury.

How did he demonstrate? “He kicked the other guy between the legs,” explained one eighth grader.

Starry-eyed youngsters who walked into PJ Wilkinson-Trzeciac’s modeling class were mostly too polite to express their surprise.

They got no tips on walking the runway. Instead, the modeling instructor injected a few basics - posture, faith in yourself, no gum chewing - into a salsa-hot series of motivational messages:

“I’ve seen the girl with the purple hair, the guy with the colored hair. You know what? I treat them the same as anyone else.

“It’s OK to be different, but you have to understand that we don’t want to be like you,” she said.

In another room, flight attendant Sherry Hoyt shrugged off her jacket and took on a stream of questions.

Any crash-landings? Three close calls in 26 years of flying. Do you need college? No, but you do need to take airline training and be 20 years old. Is the pay good? Hoyt makes $44.53 an hour - that’s with her seniority and for marathon international flights. Hoyt flies from San Francisco to places like Hong Kong or Seoul. And, she reminded her awestruck audience, she doesn’t fly 40 hours a week. Eighty hours is a good month, she said.

Not that Career Day was free of glitches.

The banker had an uphill battle setting her audience of mostly sixth-graders afire. The miniature horse handler lost some of her students as she discussed confirmation - the body structure of a horse.

Kristi Erban gave her first session her all, discussing her field, advertising. The students were strangely quiet. Finally, Erban realized the problem. Her audience was expecting to hear all about her first career - acting.

She gave them the lowdown: “It’s hard work. You have to get up at 3 a.m. for auditions, go to work at 7:30. Work all day, then do more auditions until 2 the next morning. No, thank you. That’s why I quit.”

It’s a breath-takingly huge job, organizing the Career Day. Kathy Parsons, a Mountain View teacher, said she wasn’t sure she and the other six organizers would run the event again next year. “It’s so draining.”

But by midday, as kids dashed by chattering about their morning’s experiences, Parsons marshaled her energy.

“We should do more of these. The kids learn so much.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos (1 color)

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