Doctors, football players, artists, police officers and soldiers took their seats Wednesday in Audubon Elementary School classrooms.

Halloween is traditionally a day of dress-up for kids. However, Audubon this year limited costumes to kids’ ideas of the real-life dream jobs.

To add to the fun, several professionals shared with students in third through fifth grade about what they do, and what they had to go through to achieve their chosen jobs.

A veterinarian elicited laughs and excitement in a fourth-grade class when she shared photos from her vet trips to other countries.

One student in particular was thrilled, since she has been interested in becoming a veterinarian for a long time.

“I love animals,” said 9-year-old Justine Taravella. The aspiring veterinarian — who dressed as a vet, complete with stuffed animal — was excited to speak to someone doing the job.

She has experience with critters, with five cats, two dogs and lots of fish at home.

Learning that becoming a veterinarian takes a lot of class time and work didn’t seem to deter Justine.

“I love school a lot,” she said.

Audubon Principal Nancy Smith said it is important that kids learn that success isn’t always instant, and that great things can be accomplished with time and effort. Bringing in special guests is one way to bring adventure into the classroom to motivate kids, she said.

“I love what I do,” said veterinarian Molly Comiskey, adding that as a 5-year-old she knew what she wanted to pursue.

“I remember dressing up as a vet for career day,” Comiskey said. She wanted to get kids excited about the possibilities of her field, while explaining to them that it is worth all the loans — and schoolwork.

It was the first time the staff at Audubon, in Colorado Springs School District 11, had tried a more educational approach to Halloween.

“They always enjoy dressing up,” Smith said of the kids, so she decided to capitalize on the holiday.

Students in lower grades also learned about different fields. First-graders visited the nearby fire station earlier in the week.

“The kids are excited,” Smith said. “They seem to be spellbound by all the different things.”

Students asked some great questions, she said. They wanted to know what skills were needed for certain jobs, and how much school was required. A few asked about the money made by certain professionals, which included an author, artist, dentist and Air Force chemical weapons specialist.

Smith hopes the career day isn’t just on Halloween, and expects to host special guests once each quarter to gets kids interested in different jobs.

“These are little kids, they are dreaming,” Smith said. “We need to keep sparking that.”

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