Tri-City Career Spirit Week

For the first time ever the Rochester School District hosted a Spirit Week that involved ALL grade levels from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. But they didn’t stop just there, this Spirit Week was also a Tri-City event, meaning that both the Somersworth School District and Dover School District were also encouraged to participate as well. 

We interviewed one family in particular that got a lot of enjoyment out of this Spirit Week. Twins Rylan and Quinn Finitsis, age 8, both attend Chamberlain Street School. Their grandmother Brenda LaBranche has been a Paraprofessional for the Somersworth School District for the past 22 years. And Nicole Finitsis, Rylan and Quinn’s mom, has been a “seacoaster” her whole life, and a Tri-City citizen the majority of her childhood into adulthood and she found this Tri-City Spirit Week to be an awesome idea. She also thought it was a lot of fun to see what her mom, Brenda, would be dressed up as each morning which added another layer to it all! 

When dressing up Brenda didn’t necessarily have a favorite day, she just “really enjoyed seeing what the students came up with for their outfits and their reactions to how the staff dresses up. They love seeing their teachers in a different light!” The boys on the other hand did have a favorite day and it was Dress to Impress and Career Day (Hats Off to Career Awareness  being a close second for Quinn). 

The twins and their mom had many conversations over the week spending time talking about career exploration. With the different dress up themes each day revolving around career awareness they were able to really take it more seriously and dive deeper into what they would enjoy doing and Nicole said the following: 

Of course at this age, they want to do it all!  Quinn is split between a human services career or an arts career as he loves to help others and also is a budding musician as he knows a few instruments already and is taking lessons on ukulele & guitar, voice & piano.  Rylan is a STEM kid all around.  He loves and has always loved math and science – he would tell you of course if asked he doesn’t like either. He has been quick to work with numbers and design.  Lately with LEGO he can look at photos of favorite cartoon characters and create his own replicas with LEGO bricks.  He has an engineer's mind!” 

This unique concept for a Spirit Week was planned for the last week in February before school break. February is nationally recognized as Career Technical Education month which stemmed the idea of creating this career inspired spirit week. Nicole and her husband are big believers in trade and technology schools and colleges and believe in “the importance of trade/technology jobs; as the needs of these workers in the trades are dwindling” and they have spoken with their boys about the uniqueness of the Tri-City school districts. 

The Tri-City School partnership between Rochester, Dover and Somersworth allows their students to attend any of the three technology centers for their programs. With over 43 different CTE programs between the three schools this gives students many possibilities and opportunities. The programs also include running start college credits, industry recognized credentialing and Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) where they are able to extend their learning outside of the classroom and participate in internships, job shadows and more. The hope of this Spirit Week was to inspire students, staff, and their family members to start talking more about careers and the students future and the amazing opportunities that CTE can offer for them and their career journey. 

When we asked Nicole and Brenda if they would like to do this Tri-City Spirit Week again next year they both emphatically replied “yes!” Brenda and Nicole sum it up best with Brenda stating that “it creates a sense of a larger community for the students” and Nicole’s favorite part was “including younger children – making the effort truly across ALL our schools – to explore career thinking". Nicole also thinks "it's important to expose kids to all facets of possibilities for their futures and encourage them to make choices that drive their passion and excitement for a career.” We at the Rochester School District could not agree more and look forward to next year when we can host another Tri-City district wide spirit week relating to career exploration!