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Explore many careers, you must: voice of Yoda visits career day

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Above image credit: Blue Valley Middle School students listen to voice-over actor Tom Kane talk during their annual career day. (Photo by Lindsey Foat)

If Yoda offered career advice, he might tell you something like, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

But Tom Kane, who was the voice of Yoda in the animated film “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” as well as numerous Star Wars video games, is more interested in making sure the Blue Valley Middle School students he talks to at their annual career day walk away feeling excited about jobs that they never even knew existed.

“They experience (voice-over acting) everyday, but they don’t think about the fact that it’s actually done by a real person,” Kane said, who has been doing voiceover work since he was 15 and has been the voice of everything from the Academy Awards to Professor Utonium on “The Powerpuff Girls.”

Photo of man standing in front of a projection screen.

Voice-over actor Tom Kane shares clips of cartoons and video games featuring his work during career day at Blue Valley Middle School. (Photo by Lindsey Foat)

“It doesn’t occur to them that there is some guy that is doing the voice of Yoda and that he might have grown up in Overland Park,” he said. “I want them to realize that it’s not only possible, but that it actually happened.”

Kane was one of 36 local professionals ranging from an FBI Agent to horseback riding instructor that spent several hours talking about their careers with 7th and 8th grade students on Oct. 14, 2014.

If middle school seems early for students to start seriously thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, school counselor Candy Moore said that, in the 18 years she’s been working in schools, she’s seen the emphasis on career development start earlier for students.

“It seems like when I went to college, we did a lot more career exploration and development our freshman year to figure out what path you might want to be on, and now things seem a lot more specific,” Moore said, who worked with parents to coordinate this year’s career day.

“The research has been really clear that middle school is more of that time to start being introduced to careers that you haven’t thought of,” she said.

Moore said that introducing students to a variety of career paths in middle school allows students to be more strategic when they choose what classes to take once they get to high school.

Eighth-grader Carly Kaster, who attended sessions with an Overland Park Police Department crime lab officer, a sous chef and a jewelry and fashion designer, said that, after today, she’s considering what electives might be helpful.

“The chef and the jewelry (designer) said that photography would be good, so I might want take that,” Kaster said.

Like Kaster, 7th grader Ryan Jacobs’ selections reflected a wide range of interests from organ transplant technologists to Kane’s talk about voice-over acting.

Jacobs said that he’s already thought about a lot of future jobs ranging from vet to Broadway performer and that he’s already thinking about what he might want to learn more about next year.

“I think that (career day) is just a really cool idea because in high school you learn the square root of Pi, but you don’t learn how many different jobs (use math),” Jacobs said. “This really helped us learn more of what the real world is like rather than just sitting here learning how to multiply by two or something like that.”

Major Funding for Education coverage on KCPT provided by Jo Anna Dale and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

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