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Murray Journal

Students learn career choices at Murray vehicle day

Nov 01, 2017 01:23PM ● By Julie Slama

Third-graders climb aboard to explore a catering truck at Murray School District’s annual vehicle day. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Horizon third-grader Finn Lee listened about what is proper to go down the drain while checking out a sewer truck from Murray Public Services.

But his favorite vehicle was the truck that cut and trimmed trees.

“They get to go up in the basket to help take care of the trees,” he said.

There were about 20 vehicles gathered Sept. 29 for Murray School District third-graders to tour—jumping in the back of a catering truck to sitting in the police car—and ask questions to those in the community who operate them.

“Kids know fire trucks and police cars, but they may not realize others serve our community so we want them to become more aware who is serving our community and what sorts of jobs are needed,” said Chantel Thackeray Olsen, who coordinated the event. 

At the sewer truck, Murray City Waste Water Tech III Gary Gustafson listened to students tell him what couldn’t be flushed down the drain—toys, banana peels, homework. Gustafson said that they find cell phones, jewelry, coins and toothbrushes when cleaning the sewers.

Then he posed the question if flushable wipes could be put down.

“Even though it says ‘flushable,’ don’t put them down,” he said. “We save the city every day, but if you see us working with rubber gloves, you know it’s bad.”

With him, Waste Water Tech III Jayson Perkins said that restaurant and household cooking grease clogs the drains.

“Grease is terrible,” he said. “It builds up on sewer lines. People may not know about it and just put everything down the garbage disposal.”

Parent volunteer Tera Luck was escorting kids from vehicle to vehicle.

“I love this,” she said. “The kids are fascinated and will recognize more vehicles around town. We know a lot more about sewage, power and tree trucks.”

The vehicle operators also told students skills they need for their work. For example, caterer Rebecca Brown who has worked for Meier’s BBQ 11 years, said that she not only has to do a lot of math, communication and computer work with her job, she also has to resolve problems, be flexible and provide great customer service.

“I have to figure out how much is needed for the order and how best to figure out communicating to the people cooking it and to the customers,” she said. “This is a fast-paced job, with a lot of running around. I’ve learned how to go with the flow.”

She showed students the heating and refrigerated sections of her truck that can hold 2,000 servings of pulled pork as well as let the kids climb in the back of her truck. 

Murray City Police Officer Matt Dibble also let students check out his police car.

“They’re so enthralled with the equipment from what’s on my belt and vest to the computer, radio and lights in the car,” he said. “This is part of our community policing and letting students know how all we serve the community.”

He also emphasized to students that reading, computer skills and much of what they learn in school will help them at age 21, if they choose to enter the police academy.

Thackeray Olsen said it is important students realize how learning helps them in the real world.

“Students realize how math, reading, communication, computers help in the jobs and how school can help them to succeed,” she said.