Virtual career panels open to local students

Darius Slay, Justin Coleman, Deejay Dallas and Tracy Walker are household names in the Golden Isles and across the country.

These four local alumni have found great success on the football field and play today for the NFL.

Many other local alumni, though, have gone on to pursue and find success in a variety of professions, although some may not be as well known.

A initiative this month aims to help make local students aware of the many types of job opportunities open to them by bringing them face-to-face (virtually) with different professionals who graduated from Brunswick High and Glynn Academy.

The virtual career panels, called “Brunswick & Beyond,” are sponsored by the Pirate Foundation, a nonprofit that supports students at Brunswick High. They are planned for 6:30 p.m. each Monday in February.

This Monday, the professionals on the panel will include an entertainment CEO, a college coach and a union worker.

“We had around 23 people dial in on Monday,” said Shakir Robinson, a BHS alumnus who helped organize the initiative. “I think it was a good opportunity. The students were asking questions like how’d you get there, what education do you need, what do you like most about your profession? I just don’t remember having something like that when I was in high school, so I think it was beneficial for those students.”

The panel Feb. 15 will include a marine, an airman and a soldier and on Feb. 22 it will include a software engineer, an actor and a sports reporter.

A major benefit of this program is the local connection, Robinson said, which shows local students what is attainable.

“They walked the same halls, they went to the same places — Willie’s Weenie Wagon, Grandy’s and everything,” Robinson said. “They can see themselves in these panelists. It’s not anyone that comes from Atlanta or L.A. No, these people graduated from Brunswick High. One or two of them graduated from Glynn Academy. And they’re all doing these wide variety of professions.”

Robinson said he will lead the first half of the discussion, asking questions before opening the floor to students.

“I would encourage them to dial in so they can have more reference points about the possibilities that are out there,” Robinson said. “… Here’s a prime opportunity for them to dial in and listen to Brunswick High and GA graduates.”

The program fits into the Pirate Foundation’s overall mission to help students reach their goals, said Robert Jones, president of the organization. Jones’ daughter graduated in 2011 with Robinson and other alumni on the panels.

The organization also donates to clubs and sports at Brunswick High and gifts scholarships to students annually.

“I keep up with all the different teachers and coaches and administrators, and we’ve got a pretty good relationship,” Jones said. “When they see a need they’ll contact me, and we’ll see what we can do to help.”

Students can participate in the upcoming Zoom events by using the link us02web.zoom.us/j/84087106140.