PONTOTOC CO., OK -- It's never too early to start preparing for the future and that is exactly what Pontotoc County 8th graders did at ECU Wednesday.
Nearly 500 8th graders from around Pontotoc County gathered at ECU today to get a head start on planning for the future.
Students participated in Career Discovery Day, an initiative State Senator Susan Paddack started 3 years ago.
Paddack said, "We really think that what we're gonna be doing is giving them that consistent message that really resonates with them and sinks in. It may not all sink in in the 8th grade but they'll get a little bit more in the 9th grade and a little more each year so that when they graduate from high school we're gonna have some great results to show from the program."
Paddack also partnered with Ada Jobs Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce to bring in local professionals to speak to students.
8th grader Kalynn Daniels says she knows getting a head start now will help her in the future.
Daniels said, "If you just listen and take in everything I think it's just gonna help you get better and be prepared. "
Daniels hopes to be a veterinarian someday and local vet Calvin White spoke to Daniels' group about his profession.
He says the program also helps students realize that experience is also important in choosing a career.
White says, "They need to know what the real world side is like...and the only way they're gonna do that is to get inside and work for someone and find out what goes on."
Paddack says the message she hopes to send to students is to find a successful career they love...advice Daniels says she won't forget.
Daniels said, "Keep on with the career that you want and keep your head high and that you can succeed in your dreams."