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Woodside students eye future following career fair

Marion Harley, a photographer, told students he got a sociology and history degree in college before abandoning that path for photography. He described the field as lucrative and still evolving with digital advancements."It's your age," he said. "It's your digital age."Alison Ginsberg, co-owner of the Long Island restaurant Little Chefs, said she and her mother started the business after her mother decided she wanted to teach kids to cook."You need to be good with kids, a people-person and fun," she said.This is the school's second year in Woodside, although its original branch in Glen Cove, L.I., has been around for 20 years. It currently teaches 105 students in grades six through nine with speech and language problems, autism, learning disabilities, emotional problems and attention deficit disorder.The Career Day is part of the state-mandated transition program for special education students."I think a majority of our students will have some difficulty with standardized tests," said Jeremy Tiegerman, a psychologist at the school. "It's important they try to figure out an appropriate vocation going forward."As they reach high school, many of the students will wind up with more free time at the end of the school day, he said, which they should devote to internships.Personal trainers Kali O'Marel and Devon Higman of Pulse Fitness in Sunnyside got the biggest rise from the crowd. The students gasped at O'Marel's bulging biceps, and then squealed with delight when Higman jumped on O'Marel's shoulders and the two men formed a sort of human totem pole."After I got my bachelor's degree in physiology, I decided I wanted to do things with the body," O'Marel said, noting he had worked with the Syracuse University football team and Higman had worked with rap stars LL Cool J and 50 Cent.Sheri Reich, an artists and repertoire representative for Jive Records, told the students about her love for music and the series of college internships that landed her the job signing artists for the pop label.When the speakers were done, students rushed up to their tables to ask questions.Mark Cook, 17, said his favorite speakers were O'Marel and Reich."I love music and I love to work out," he said, noting his fellow students benefit from career events "so they can get a guide of what they want to do."Some students came away from the experience with a better understanding of what it takes to have a career."You have to go to college and know a lot about your job, said Melissa Vargas, 15, of Corona. She said her own plans include college.Reich's record company presentation appealed to 15-year-old Yovanica Jean-Marie of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, who said she might like to work in the industry. But she said she has another dream."I always wanted to be a pediatrician," she said. "That's my No. 1 goal."Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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