Students get head start on learning about the work world

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

Students in Virginia Robertson’s high school English class edged closer to the real work world with a recent project on career choice.

How does a project on jobs fit into the English III curriculum at Ferriday High School? Perfectly, Robertson said.

&uot;This is the first time it’s been done in English III, and it fits. There’s research, writing and evidence of the use of technology in the classroom,&uot; she said.

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The research allowed students to look at many different options before choosing one field. As they narrowed choices, they did further research, finding and writing job descriptions, highlights of the jobs, working conditions and training and education requirements, for example.

Student Edward Jefferson looked into the construction industry, deciding he would like to become a construction manager. &uot;It was good getting to know what everyone wanted to be,&uot; he said. &uot;We got a lot of information about the jobs, how long it would take us and what courses we’d have to take.&uot;

Robertson said her hope is that students may give more thought to their high school courses &045; taking every one seriously and realizing the importance of starting early in life to prepare for the adult work world.

&uot;If students recognize they why behind their careers, they will take a positive approach to other areas &045; the math, the science they may need in the future,&uot; she said. &uot;And they used technology to showcase their findings. They prepared Power Point presentations and written presentations. And they came today dressed in attire that would be appropriate for their careers.&uot;

Parents and the community at large will have an opportunity to see the presentations and learn more about the project when the high school holds its open house on Oct. 1, Robertson said.

Student April Love Walker chose computer design as her field to explore. She found from her research she could make about $33,000 annually as a designer.

&uot;Training and education requirements are getting an associate degree from a program taught at a technical school or community college,&uot; Walker said.

Ashley Necole Reese surprised the class with her choice of occupation &045; funeral director or mortician.

&uot;I know this profession doesn’t appeal to many people, but it does to me,&uot; she said. &uot;I will be helping families pick out the casket and will dress the deceased.&uot;

One item each student surveyed was how the future job market looked for the field he or she had chosen. Reese had an answer for that.

&uot;In the next five years, I’ll still be needed as an undertaker because everybody dies,&uot; she said.

Another student learned that becoming a pediatrician would take many years of education and training. The same was true for the student who chose anesthesiology. Those will be desirable jobs, they found, because of rewards of helping people, good salary opportunity and a market that could see a rise in demand in the fields.

Kazeric Gorham liked the idea of driving a large truck. He told classmates about the history of the trucking industry and the physical demands of the job. He found the occupation will grow during the next two years and that a commercial driver license is required but a college education is not.

Christine Anderson, on the other hand, will obtain both a bachelor’s degree and probably a master of business administration degree to reach her goal of becoming a chief executive officer.

Dressed in a business suit, she made a presentation that showed a 17.2-percent growth in job opportunity in that occupation. &uot;The salary will depend on the business, but it should be above $100,000 a year,&uot; Anderson said.

If he becomes a veterinarian, Camberon Jolla will have the option of concentrating on different kinds of animals.

&uot;The veterinarian has to have a doctorate of veterinary medicine,&uot; Jolla said. &uot;He can concentrate on small or large animals or both. Or he can specialize in exotic animals such as birds.&uot;

Jolla said veterinarians sometimes work in rural areas from mobile clinics, diagnosing and treating animals on farms and ranches.

Jolanda Wilson chose respiratory therapy because the vocation would allow her to work with people and to help people. &uot;That’s exciting to me. When I looked it up, I thought that fit me,&uot; she said.

Rochelle Evans liked learning more about becoming a licensed practical nurse. &uot;I can help people such as the sick, the elderly and infants. There’s a variety of choices,&uot; she said. &uot;It was a good experience to learn more about the job.&uot;

Ferriday High School has a mission, teacher Robertson said. &uot;We believe in helping students to achieve academically and vocationally,&uot; she said. &uot;We want students to know it’s O.K. to be a truck driver or a carpenter.&uot;

The career cluster has delighted her as a teacher. &uot;It’s one of the best things I’ve done.&uot;