Thank you, Mrs. Dahlquist for allowing us to interview you.
How long have you been working at Saugus High School as the Career & College Readiness Specialist? I came to Saugus High School exactly 2 years ago after 14 years as a stay at home parent and “professional volunteer.” I feel really lucky to work in the community where I have lived for more than 20 years.
Please describe what a typical day is like for you? What I learned pretty quickly is that there is no such thing as a typical day on a high school campus. One day I might be able to tick every item off my “to do” list, another day is spent visiting classrooms, while another is spent working with the counselors and talking to students about pathways and course choices. Lately, I’ve been working with a few of my automotive technology students, helping them to prepare their resumes for an annual skills competition. At the end of the day, it’s pretty satisfying work.
What advice do you give most to students? My life and career have taken so many turns, so I try to share my crooked path to encourage students to be open and to notice the opportunities that come their way. I’m a big believer in walking through the open doors, as each presents the chance to gather new skills for your toolkit. I studied broadcast journalism in college, then worked on film sets as a publicist, and later organized events as a parent volunteer. I could not have foreseen that I would land here, but I use the skills I learned along the way every single day. I want students to know that it’s perfectly fine to change their minds and that no experience is ever wasted.
What would you like parents to know about the Career & College Readiness program? I would like parents to know that participating in career pathways is a simple prospect for their student. Pathways are sequences of classes designed to help students dive deeper into a particular career cluster (majors). If their son or daughter is currently enjoying their elective and wants to continue, chances are there’s a pathway for that. All they need to do is to visit the specialist on their campus to discuss their choices. Also, I want parents to know that kids enter the career discovery process at different times in their academic lives, so it’s never too early or too late to start a pathway.
What do you love most about your career? I love working with students and talking to them about their plans and aspirations. My students are full of possibility. I love that moment when they discover how their diverse interests can converge and they can visualize what their career might look like. It's really fun to help empower students to pursue their future.
The other thing I love is that I get to work with so many different groups of people. I work daily with the counseling team, with the CTE teachers and with my students here on campus. Then, I am on a team of specialists – there is one of us on each campus – and I am strengthened by our collaboration and shared experiences. This is the part of my job that most allows me to use my communications and public relations skills.
What is on your wish list for the next 10 years? I have been a parent for 18 years – my boys are 15 ½ and 18 years old – and they are showing the fruits of what my husband in I planted with them when they were small. I am excited to watch them launch into the world and their adult lives, and what I look forward to most is visiting them in the places their lives take them.
Tell us something about yourself we would be surprised to hear? I have a handful of movie credits from my days working on a film set, but the most famous celebrity I ever worked with was Bugs Bunny!