High schooler’s love for flying reaffirmed during Brunswick County job shadow day

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY – What’s life like in the “real” world? More than 60 South Brunswick High School students  tasted reality recently as part of job shadow day put on in conjunction with the Career Ready program at Brunswick County Schools.

With help from The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Brunswick County Career Ready helped 64 students participate in the opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers.

From left-to-right: Howie Franklin of Cape Fear Regional Jetport, Booke Demonbreun and Rich Largent of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 939. Photo courtesy- Karen Sphar.
From left-to-right: Howie Franklin of Cape Fear Regional Jetport, Booke Demonbreun and Rich Largent of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 939. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sphar)

Thirty-five businesses, ranging from government offices to locally owned companies, gave students a chance to learn the ins and outs of a typical day in the office.  To getting a better understanding of what it means to be a professional from the clothes you wear to the importance of being on time, students gained a range of knowledge.

“It is such an important time in the lives of these students,” said Karen Sphar, executive vice-president for Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Anything we can do to assist the student in making a better career choice is so worth any effort.”

Amy Sanders, Career Ready Coordinator, made presentations to juniors and seniors looking to take part in job shadowing. Students listed their top three career interests and once applications were collected, Sanders compiled a list to make job placements. A folder for each student with contact information and career-related materials was handed out leading up to a brief orientation before each of the students set sights on a day in the “real” world.

After gaining of love for flying as a young girl who spent time in the air as early as 8 years old, Brooke DeMonbreun was eager to get to the Cape Fear Regional Jetport for career advice.

“The reason I wanted to job shadow at the jetport was because when I was a little girl my father, sister and I would attend ‘Big Toy Day,'” DeMonbreun said.  “The event consisted of pilots volunteering their time and it really made me catch interest in aircrafts.

South Brunswick student Anna Cohen spent her job shadowing day with local attorney Bonner Stiller. Photo courtesy- Karen Sphar.
South Brunswick student Anna Cohen spent her job shadowing day with local attorney Bonner Stiller. Photo courtesy- Karen Sphar.

“Only being 8 at the time made me very nervous, but I remember gently grabbing the controls and going side to side and up and down. Since Big Toy Day, my dad and I sometimes drive to the end of the runway at the jetport and watch the military take off and land the Osprey for practice. I’ve always told my father that I want to fly one day.”

As the senior at South Brunswick High School prepares for graduation and Appalachian State University in the fall, Demonbreun is not totally sure what she’d like to study, possibly nursing or environmental science. But, her recent time at the jetport helped her get a clearer picture as to why she should get into a field she enjoys, just like when she was a young girl in the sky.

“While job shadowing with Mr. Howie, he gave me good information about choosing a career,” DeMonbreun added. “He described that almost every pilot he met has the biggest love with their job, so he said that whatever route I choose, it should be something I love. You could say after doing my job shadowing with Howie, he is an inspiration and someone I can look up to.”

DeMonbreun put her finger on something extremely important to our youth. Developing a passion for something and remembering no matter where life may take you during the journey, having a true love in what you do might not be considered work at all.

Currently, DeMonbreun works at Dry Street Pub and Pizza five nights a week during school and just finished her last season playing volleyball for South Brunswick. While college is right around the corner, it’s safe to say DeMonbreun not only used her experience during job shadow day to reaffirm her love for flying, but her well-rounded high school days are setting the foundation for a successful future.

“Since I have always had that passion about flying, I hope to get my private pilot’s license sometime before graduating college,” DeMonbreun said. “I know it takes a lot of time and money to do so, but since I feel so passionate about it, I think it is something to go after.”