More than 300 students to shadow jobs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Lillie DeShields remembers helping to inspire a student’s career. The communications director for International Paper’s Natchez mill was touring a group of students — including a girl who wanted to be an engineer — for a job shadowing program at the mill. DeShields’ work inspired the student instead.

&uot;She said she wanted to do what I do,&uot; DeShields said. &uot;She’s now a successful journalist.&uot;

International Paper and many other businesses around the Miss-Lou will host more than 300 eighth- and ninth-graders from Adams County and Concordia Parish today as part of Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

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Junior Achievement sponsors the national activity for students to &uot;shadow&uot; a worker in an industry of interest to that student. The last count for participation in Natchez was 230 ninth-grade students and 58 businesses, said Cynthia Parker, coordinator of the School to Careers Program for the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority.

Sarah Cotton, eighth-grade reading teacher at Vidalia Junior High School, said about 86 eighth-grade students from Vidalia Junior High School will visit 36 businesses in the Miss-Lou. Vidalia students will visit places such as Riverland Medical Center, the Natchez Mall and the Army Recruiting Office in Natchez.

&uot;My students wanted to shadow auto mechanics and lawyers, architects, ATV&160;mechanics, policemen, sheriffs and electrical engineers,&uot; Cotton said.

In Vidalia, the job shadow trip will take up the student’s entire school day, Cotton said.

&uot;We have some students reporting to work as early as 6:45 a.m. and others staying as late as 5 p.m.,&uot; she said.

Cotton was careful to point out that no student will work an entire day. &uot;Three hours is the length of time they must shadow to get credit for it,&uot; she said.

The largest group of students — 60 — will be hosted by Natchez Regional Medical Center.

&uot;We’ve even narrowed the student participation to specific departments,&uot; said Eileen Richardson, human resources director. &uot;We’ll have some in accounting, nursing, lab. This is a prime opportunity for these children to learn what they want to do.&uot;

DeShields said one of the most important aspects of job shadow activities for IP&160;is taking time to correctly match students with their areas of interest, and following through with the students after they complete their shadow experience. &uot;We like to give students good groundwork,&uot; she said. &uot;We like to help students to find out what they do and don’t want to do.&uot;

The Natchez-Adams School District will sponsor 15 children for the shadow day.

Millicent Mayo, spokesperson for the Natchez-Adams School District, will coordinate the job shadow day at the school district.

&uot;So many students already see teachers every day in the classroom,&uot; she said. &uot;On this day, we’re going to show them other professions available to them in education.&uot;

One student is scheduled to go with a band director, one will visit with school counselors, another will spend time with workers in the school daycare at the Fallin Career and Technology Center.

&uot;We’ll start with a tour and a personnel man will talk briefly on benefits and the importance of those in seeking employment,&uot; Mayo said.

Dr. Carl Davis, superintendent of the Natchez-Adams School District is taking a student for the day as is several assistant superintendents, accountants and secretaries in the school district office, she said.

Many other Natchez businesses will sponsor under 10 students per location.