Career Day gives Prairie View students glimpse of life beyond graduation

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Jarrod Bechard, a forensics scientist with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, discusses the difference between known and latent fingerprints during a session at the Prairie View Career Day. (Photo by Roger Sims, Linn County Journal)

LA CYGNE – Sometimes high school students think what they learn in the classroom isn’t real, that it doesn’t apply to real life. For Prairie View High School students, it was all real last Friday, Nov. 19.

More than 30 professionals and business men and women from different industries split up into separate classrooms to tell students about how they make their living at Prairie View’s fourth annual career day.

In three breakout sessions ranging from construction trades to medical fields, health care to filmmaking, military to graphic design, students were able to explore potential careers by talking to people who walked the walk.

Sgt. Chris Dame, left, and Steven Lloyd with the Kansas National Guard give students perspective of life in the military. (Photo by Roger Sims, Linn County Journal)

Andrea Richardson, business and personal finance teacher at Prairie View, said that all of the high school students, from freshmen to seniors, could choose to sit in on two different career sessions in the morning.

Then in the afternoon, all of the students except seniors were were able to choose from three more general breakout sessions. Those sessions included:

  • Money Management Basics

  • Investing 101

  • Leadership 101

  • College Survival Tips

  • Gardening Basics

  • Stress Management

  • Yoga Basics

  • Clean & Happy Home

  • Auto Maintenance

  • Ace the Interview

Seniors were able to choose two of those sessions, but were required to participate in two mock interviews as a third session to satisfy the requirements of the senior level Personal Finance/Business Economics course, Richardson said.

Twenty-one people from across the area set up shop in the high school gym and interviewed “prospects” for that exercise.

Richardson acknowledged that following graduation, students sometimes will complain that high school did not equip them for basic life skills such as personal finance, how to file a tax return, how to develop and maintain credit and how to manage insurance.

However, with the required personal finance required for graduation, that complaint is not heard very often now, she said.

She said that students have other ways of learning career-related skills, including early work release and the ability to travel to vocational technology courses, such as welding, at other area schools and training centers.

In the past, students were able to participate in a job “shadowing” program where they could spend time at a job site learning about a career. Or they could do college visits to learn what lay ahead of them following graduation.

While the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed much of that activity last year, Richardson expects those opportunities to become available again.

As chief coordinator of Career Day, Richardson sees that it is of great benefit to the students.

“It’s a fun day,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy planning it.”

Above right, Christina Black talks with students about what it takes to become a teacher. Hers was one of the best attended career talks of the morning. Below, mock interviews are conducted in the large gym. (Submitted photos)

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