There’s a big push in Union City to get kids to think about their futures, and local real estate firm, Sunil Sethi Real Estate, helped the effort by recently sponsoring an essay contest. The group encouraged students in the third grade to write about what they plan to do the year they graduate from high school.
"I remember the essay I wrote in third grade, and though I never became a scientist who retired at age 30, it did make me realize that I would have to pick a future career and figure out what I needed to do to get there," said realtor Sunil Sethi.
"Our hope is that the students start associating the purpose of school with helping them achieve their future career goals, and not just a place to hang-out until they graduate," answered Steven Fong, a fellow realtor as well as a former teacher.
From the essays received, the most popular professions aspired to include: doctors, teachers, artists, and firefighters. Becoming President of the United States was one of the more ambitious careers that a student wrote about. Other unique careers students mentioned were Lego designers, wildlife rehabilitators, and UFC fighters.
"We’re hoping the kids read the essays by their peers to see what else they could consider. Hopefully now that the idea has been planted in their heads, they’ll revisit their plan, re-plan and make adjustments as their career desires change over the years," added Sethi.
About 16 percent of the third grade student population in New Haven Unified School District participated; which was mostly driven by teacher encouragement. Next year, the hope is to get even more teachers to encourage their students to take part.
Each student who submitted an essay will receive a commemorative pen inscribed with, "I know what I want to be when I grow up," and a commendation letter from the office of County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer.
The essay contest was sponsored by Sunil Sethi and Steven Fong of Sunil Sethi Real Estate, the Office of County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer representing the 2nd district in Alameda County, Risha Kilaru of Prospect Mortgage, and Kristie Turner of Kristie Turner Insurance Agency.
The compilation of every essay can be downloaded at www.sunilsethi.com and more information is available at www.facebook.com/essaycontest. Sunil Sethi can be contacted at (510) 388-2436.