Students explore careers at Shadow Day

Saugus Police Department Det. Frank Morello, left, and Det. Sgt. Paul VanSteensburg, third from right, taught Saugus High School juniors, from left, Brittaney Sudanowicz, Robert McGrane, Briana Forgione, Mike Rothwell, Allie Kotkowsky, Hayden Costa, Tiffany Bravo, Alexa Faysal, and Christian Heffernan, how to safely handle and shoot a gun.


SAUGUS — While some high schoolers were learning how to bake Thursday morning, others were learning how to safely shoot a gun.

More than 60 high schoolers shadowed professionals in the workforce to get a taste of the careers they are interested in. Laurie Golan, a math teacher at the school who retired last spring, organized the program for more than 20 years. This May, the tradition was passed on to guidance councilor Bethany Norton.

Saugus Firefighter Bill Cross said he’s been volunteering for Shadow Day for more than two decades and has seen at least five students grow up to work for the department.

Three juniors took on a day as a firefighter Thursday: Danny McCullough, Ryan Groark, and Nick Sanderson. All three admitted the job was more difficult than they expected, though none of them were ready to step down from the challenge.

“We did a simulation of a fire and it was really hard doing that simulation,” said McCullough. “We wore back out shields and had no idea where we were. But (in this job) you’re making a difference.”

“It’s cool how they do their jobs and save lives,” said Sanderson.

During their visit, Cross said they put up an aerialStere practicing in an unrealistic setting that didn’t involve smoke, heat, or the anxiety of getting someone out of a burning building.

“They did it all wrong, they didn’t stick together, but that’s how you learn,” Cross said.

Next door at the Saugus Police Department, about half-a-dozen teens toured the station, got a glimpse at the holding cells, and learned how to shoot AR-15 rifles and glock handguns. The students were taught about firearm safety before setting out for the shooting range.

Alice Kotkowski, a junior, said she recently decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. She’s interested in becoming a private investigator or working in forensic science.

“I just think it’s really cool how they can figure out who people are through such little evidence and with science,” she said.

Brittney Sudanowicz liked learning how to shoot a gun. She hasn’t decided on a career path, but said that law enforcement is in the running. She was surprised to learn Thursday how many different jobs there are in police work.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

More Stories From Saugus