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Teaching Students About Careers on Wheels


On a beautiful, sunny day in Kansas City, the children of Renner Elementary eagerly lined up to learn around “Careers on Wheels.”

The career day is designed to teach the students about professionals who make their living on four or more wheels.

A truck driver, a team of firefighters,  a race car drive, a karate instructor, a lawn maintenance technician and a UPS driver were all on hand, with their rigs, to teach students about their day-to-day careers.

Dante Nettles, a 23 year veteran driver and former Maryland State Trooper, was there with his Riverside Transport Inc., said his goal is to teach the children, “Driving a truck is a good career, but it’s important kids stay on the right path, don’t do drugs and stay out of trouble.”

Nettles told the children that if they get into trouble with the law, they would have a hard time finding a good job in the future.

He also told the children to learn to read a map and to try their hardest in math, telling them they would need to those skills in any career.

The students sat and listened attentively as Nettles taught the students about driving a truck.  Nettles showed the kids how to log and even allowed them into his truck for a tour.

The children were most excited about Nettles’ TV.

“I loved his TV,” one girl said. “He had cartoons on there.”

“It’s really cool,” said Aubrey McDonald, 9. “He basically lives in there. The TV was cool.  I like the bed the most.”

While most liked Nettles tv, Olivia Bowman, 8, was most amazed with the truck’s size. “It’s so big,” she said. “There’s a lot of wheels on it.”

After the truck, the next stop on the students’ rotation was the race car.  Race car driver, Rodney Phillips, 23, taught the students the importance of safe driving habits.

Pointing to his 2010 Monte Carlo, he told the students, “These cars are made to take a hit going 130-140 mph, cars on the street are not built for that. Keep the racing on the track and drive safely on the road.”

Phillips said he began driving race cars when he was in 5th grade and now does it professionally.

Madison Shaw, 6,  said, “I liked the race car.  I like the colors.”

Students asked Phillips how fast he drove and if he had ever wrecked.  Phillips answered all the students questions with a smile.

“I love being back here to teach students about non-traditional careers,” he said.

As the students made their way around the lot, the stopped at a mobile karate truck, then moved on to a tow truck.  Next the students stopped at the fire truck– another crowd favorite.

All the career representatives told the students to stay out of trouble and do their best– that’s the only way they’ll have a successful future in any career.

At the end of the presentation, the students were a buzz with future career ideas, chattering with one another about what they want to be when they grow up.

To top of the day’s excitement, Phillips took his race car for a victory ride around the parking lot.  The children watched Phillips’ car skid around in circles with rapt attention, cheering loudly when the display was over.

When the presentations were over, all the drivers loaded up their rigs and moved out– onto their day’s work on wheels.

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