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Junior Explorer Day Brings Alumni Back to SRA
On April 28, 2016
Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life can be a daunting prospect for any high school student. What if you don’t like what you’ve chosen? How do you get that first job? What if you don’t want to work a traditional 9-to-5 day?
Seven alums returned to Saints before spring break to speak with the Class of 2017 about their careers and how they got to where they are today. They not only gave excellent advice but eased anxieties as well. The bi-annual Junior Career/Explorer Program introduces juniors to various careers from people who once walked in their shoes and—literally—down the same hallways.
Throughout the presentation, students asked questions that ranged from what degrees alumni earned and whether they incurred much debt, to their time at Saints and what sports they were involved in and what their best memories were. Alumni were happy to answer any question, even the more serious ones.
David Malkasian ’02 is an officer with the Pawtucket Police Department who studied science and sociology in preparation for his career. He assured students that his job is not what they see on TV, although he does experience many odd and often difficult days on the job, he considers every day a fresh start.
Addressing a question about racial profiling, Officer Malkasian was forthcoming: “There’s a bad ‘somebody’ in every job,” he said. “The biggest thing in any interaction is respect,” and said it is always the other person who sets the tone of the situation. Officers need to be concerned with their personal safety, Officer Malkasian said, as they are unsure who they may be dealing with initially.
Some alumni were candid in admitting that they were not academically exceptional students at Saint Raphael but still found their way to careers that suited their strengths, interests and personalities. Jim Burns ’82 said he still loves his job as a sales representative, even after more than 30 years. “You have to do something you’re proud of,” he said. While not the best student in school, he was taught how to network by his father. He began his career in giftware sales and built his territory over the years so that now he hires and manages his own sales representatives.
SRA’s guidance counselor Malaina Murphy ’85 also shared her path with students. She always knew she wanted to do social work with kids and families, and she became involved with Adoption Rhode Island, where she remains a part of their support team today. She credits her faith and family for giving her the courage to leave a different job where she was miserable, which eventually led her back to Saints. In true guidance counselor fashion, she advised students to discover what they love to do, for there will be stress at times in any job, but with a support system and a love for what you do, it won’t seem like work.
“Whatever you’re doing, do it well, because you never know where it will lead you,” said Orlando Lugo ’99, personal trainer and owner of Complete Athlete fitness center. “Look at the things you enjoy today, that come natural to you.” Mr. Lugo did not consider himself a stellar student, but he enjoyed helping others while at Saints. It was when he got a job as an assistant baseball coach in college that he found his calling and now mentors people to improve their health and well-being.
Thomas Hurley ’83 is a senior management application developer for CVS. For students considering IT work, there are many directions they can go in, explained Mr. Hurley, from a developer to coding and programming to fixing computers. One of his biggest influences at the Academy was the ECHO program, and he urged students get involved with that and other retreats as a way to get to know people in their class better.
Other alumni who volunteered to share their career journeys were Michael Riendeau ’83, a pharmacist at Women & Infants Hospital, and Michelle Goddard ’01, an executive relationship manager with Ultimate Software.
If you are an alum who is interested in sharing your career path with SRA students, contact Sister Regina Brennan in the Guidance office at (401) 712-8100, ext. 119 or email email@example.com.