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MCS Eighth Graders Gain First-Hand Career Experience During Annual Mentoring Day

Thursday, March 23, 2017

On Friday, March 17, Manhattan Country School eighth-graders visited professionals from a wide range of careers for our annual Eighth Grade Mentoring Day. Each year, these trips allow students from the graduating class to learn about careers of interest by visiting people in the MCS community working in those fields. The mentors spend several hours showing their guests around, explaining what a typical day entails, describing how they got where they are professionally, answering questions and more. 

These mentors are alumni, parents, parents of alumni and friends of the MCS community. When students observe a work environment in person and oftentimes get hands-on experience, it can spark a fascination and help shape their careers goals.

The following mentors participated in this year's event:

  • Animal Medicine: Dr. Erika Gibson '86
  • Anthropology: Dr. Pamela Calla
  • Art: Andrew Page
  • Computer Science: Marcin Sawicki
  • Education: Sasha Wilson '84
  • Film: Damon Gambuto '87
  • Food: Aaron Kirtz
  • Law: Caitlin (Naidoff) Glass '00 and Andrew Weinstein
  • Music: Ezra Gale '85

Following their visits, the students offered a recap of their experiences. Here are a few of their responses:

Aaron, Carolina and Layla visited Caitlin (Naidoff) Glass ('00), a law clerk to a United States District Court Judge, and former alumni representative to the MCS Board of Trustees. Carolina said: “We were guests at a naturalization and watched an arraignment…. My favorite part was when the judge shouted us out before they handed out the certificates.”

Adam, Malik, Myles and Sherman traveled to Ezra Gale’s (’85) studio in Brooklyn. Ezra is a professional musician, writer and composer. Myles said: “We went and recorded two songs and learned a lot about the equipment and how it works…. The match was perfect and the experience was great.”

Ama, Brandon and Jessica (pictured above) visited MCS parent Andrew Page at Urban Glass, his glassblowing studio in Brooklyn. Jessica said: “We observed artists create beautiful glass pieces. We saw how glass beads and neon signs are made and learned how expensive but awesome glassblowing is.”

Eighth Grade Mentoring Day

Jenna, Malia and Tai took a train all the way to New Jersey to get a tour of Forever Cheese with Aaron Kirtz, cheese monger and long-time favorite of Eighth-Grade Mentoring Day. Tai said: “I learned how cheese is stored, how it is transported, how to know if its good or bad cheese, compliance and FDA[-related matters].”

Jan headed uptown to spend time with Sasha Wilson '84, founding director of Bronx Community Charter School (BxC). As a school founded on MCS' principles, BxC's mission statement declares, "All members of our school community will be committed to making thoughtful choices, advancing democratic values, and effecting change in the broader community." Jan said: “I learned that schools all have different operations and different styles of learning….  I hoped that I would learn more about how a charter school operates, and that’s exactly what I got.”

Pearl and Sophie met with Andrew Weinstein, an MCS parent and trustee who is a criminal justice attorney and founder of The Weinstein Law Firm. Sophie said: “[We] went to [Andrew’s] office as well as the Manhattan Court… We went to two different court cases, and learned about criminal defense law, and how it’s related to social justice, race and class… Before this I never really thought about going into law, but I’m now considering it.”

Eighth Grade Mentoring Day

Anais and Izzy got to see Garden State Veterinary Specialists with veterinary neurosurgeon and MCS trustee Dr. Erika Gibson '86. Anais said: “We went into consultations and saw the beginning of a surgery. We learned different types of treatments for dogs with neuro issues.”

Damon Gambuto '87, co-executive producer at Leopard Films, invited Jonah and Monte to Leopard Studios. Monte said: “[We] learned about all of the pre- and post-production process…. I really enjoyed seeing a side of film I would not regularly see. I thought it was a perfect fit.”

Jack, who expressed interest in software design, animation and other technology-related careers, went downtown to visit MCS parent Marcin Sawicki. Marcin is a programmer/developer at Jane Street Holding. Jack said: “When I arrived at the office, Marcin gave me a tour of the trading/developing floor and the common areas. Then, he and I sat in a private office and he showed me some of the things he has coded or is coding.”

Osiris was seeking a mentor in anthropology and was connected with Dr. Pamela Calla, a cultural anthropologist and professor at New York University’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Osiris said: “I talked with Dr. Calla about her studies in cultural anthropology. I learned a lot about ‘engaged’ anthropology and how Dr. Calla links this study to activism. I also talked with her about the biological/physical side of anthropology.” His advice to future eighth-graders: “Don’t be nervous about meeting new people.”

A very special thanks to Flannery, Maiya, Akemi, Matilde, all the mentors and everyone who helped make Eighth Grade Mentoring Day a success. Those in the MCS community interested in hosting students for the 2018 Eighth Grade Mentoring Day should contact Matilde Gonzalez at