Redmond Junior High students learn the secrets to success at career day

Ninth grade students at Redmond Junior High learned what it takes to enter and advance in a variety of occupations at Tuesday morning's Career Day presentations.

Former Seattle Seahawks fullback Mack Strong speaks to students during Tuesday's Career Day at Redmond Junior High. Strong used the letters of the word 'WIN' to impart this message to students: The 'W' stands for 'Work hard!' ... 'I' stands for 'Input is essential!' ... 'N' means 'Never give up!'

Ninth grade students at Redmond Junior High learned what it takes to enter and advance in a variety of occupations at Tuesday morning’s Career Day presentations.

Guest speakers from the community included professionals in photography, entrepreneurship, law, architecture, construction, visual and performing arts, medicine, computer programming, firefighting and other fields.

The so-called glamour jobs of professional athlete and TV news anchor were also represented by former Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong and KING 5 News’ Dennis Bounds, who is also a Redmond resident.

In every case, students were told that education and hard work are the keys to successful employment.

Strong used the letters of the word “WIN” to impart this message to students: The “W” stands for “Work hard!” … “I” stands for “Input is essential!” … “N” means “Never give up!”

Strong talked about a teacher he had back in seventh grade, who pushed him to work harder than he ever had before. “She said the days of you just going home, throwing down your backpack without ever reading a book are over,” Strong recalled. And all these years later, he knew that she was right. He urged students to accept input from teachers, coaches and parents.

“You might not know it now, but it is essential,” Strong explained.

He said he had dreamed of becoming a basketball player but a wise coach told him he didn’t have the talent. However, the coach saw his flair for football and asked him, “Do you want to go to college and get paid for it? I can work with you, I can help you go to school.”

Strong noted, “If I hadn’t listened to my coach, way back there, things would’ve changed. I don’t know where I’d be.”

He spent 15 years with the Seahawks and played in two Pro Bowls before a serious neck injury forced him to retire from football, although he still stays in touch with his former teammates, he said.

Because injuries are always a risk in sports, aspiring athletes must go to college, he added.

“Everyone needs to have a degree. You gotta be smart. The NFL play book is big. Those who don’t have smarts aren’t around very long,” Strong concluded.

Bounds took students through “a day in the life” of a busy TV news room, making it crystal clear that much of what goes into a broadcast is behind-the-scenes research and relentless fact-checking.

He told kids how he worked his way up from “the worst news station in Fargo, North Dakota” to jobs in Orlando, Minneapolis and Shreveport, switching from station to station from 1976 to 1991 when he landed at KING 5.

Bounds remembered the years that he worked the early morning news shift, waking up at 3:15 a.m. and arriving for duty around 4 a.m. The work of a news anchor doesn’t start or stop when the camera is on or off, he stressed. Throughout each work day or night, he attends meetings, revises scripts and reads voraciously to educate himself about important news developments both locally and nationally.

These days, Bounds anchors the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at KING 5 and typically gets home from work around midnight.

A student wanted to know, “Do you get paid a lot?”

Bounds smiled and noted, “News anchors usually make good money, are usually the highest paid at the station — unless your ratings are bad and then you’re out the door. You are the main faces of the TV station and you get paid accordingly, but be prepared to work in a small town, a small market, learn your craft, make your mistakes, then go to a medium market and then bigger.”

He advised students with an interest in a broadcast news career to “really study language arts, take it very seriously. Learn to express yourself in a fashion that is clear, concise and interesting.”

Knowledge of political science, government and history are all very helpful, too, said Bounds.

Career Day at Redmond Junior High is an annual tradition but teachers and students at the school are always looking for guest speakers and mentors who can talk about their jobs and how they got there. For information, contact leadership teacher Chris Broderick at cbroderick@lwsd.org.

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