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ESJ placing strong emphasis on career planning this month

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 12, 1998

RESERVE – East St. John High School teachers have already been makingsure students are aware of the many careers out there through jobshadowing and speakers, giving them more to choose from.But in March, teachers and administrators are placing an even strongeremphasis on careers.

Gov. Mike Foster declared March as Career Month in Louisiana, and East St.John is doing its part to make sure that when students graduate theyaren’t clueless about what to do with their lives.

Mills said every student received a free CD-ROM containing applicationforms to over 600 colleges and universities.

“I have gotten feedback from some of the students, and they say they arereally enjoying it and are finding good things,” Mills said. “It’s goodbecause most of them like to play on the computer anyway.”Mills said the CD-ROM is not only jam packed with applications, but it alsohas career and college research tools, financial aid information andscholarship information. “I think this is what they like because they don’tlike to do much writing,” Mills said.

Counselors are encouraging students, along with their parents, to look atthe CD-ROM, as well as review ACT, ASVAB and other scores inpreparation for college and career planning.

Besides the CD-ROM, students are participating in a banner contest andwill have a professional dress-up day. They are also participating ininternal job shadowing exercises.

“Rather than go on the outside, we are doing some internal shadowing,”Counselor Carol Mills said.

Mills said students are shadowing workers at their school. Last weekstudents in the advanced food class, a class that delves into thepreparation of food and health, shadowed cafeteria workers.

Tuesday a business class of juniors and seniors shadowed the workers atthe Wildcat Store.

The Wildcat Store is a campus store that sells East St. John merchandiseand other school supplies. The store is run by Virginia Schumert, avocational teacher to students at the high school with severe disabilities.

She said the store offers a job site for the special education students toapply skills or learn new ones. “It also allows them to be contributingmembers to the community,” she added.

The juniors and seniors learned a lot of valuable business tips from theshadowing experience as they peppered Schumert with questions aboutprices, sales, profits and ordering inventory.”The seniors are excited about it because they are getting ready to leaveus and they still have some question marks in their heads,” Mills said.

“It’s a big decision for them.”

Their teacher also said it was good for them to see that special educationstudents need to think about careers, too.

“It showed them that the special ed students can also do and that theyaren’t limited,” business teacher Phyllis Johnson said. “And for thespecial ed kids, working in the store gives them skills for when they goout in the real world.”

Mills said that from Career Month and all of the other programs going on atthe high school that students are kept well-informed on the differentavenues they can follow in life after high school.”There is not a reason for anyone to not have some type of direction whenthey leave high school,” Mills said.

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