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USD 431 adds practical job experience for students through innovative career mentoring program
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HOISINGTON — Hoisington High School students now have the opportunity to explore career interests and goals in a new career mentoring class, giving them practical on-the-job training.

Last semester, the very first class had internships in such places at the bank, hospital, mortuary, education and the police department, gaining experience in the trenches.

Amanda Brock, HHS student advisor, said the students came back with a new perspective. Some changed their career goals while others thought that they had found the right field. Others liked the field, but wanted a different job in the industry.

"It’s all about helping students explore before they go into an occupation and then realize it is not for them," she said. "It’s a good opportunity for students."

HHS senior Jordan Satterlee was one of those students. She interned at First Kansas Bank in Hoisington.

"I liked it a lot," said Satterlee. "I’m going into business and banking."

She had originally thought that she was going to be an accountant. However, working in the bank helped her decide she wanted to work with people, too, so she has changed her major.

"Accounting wasn’t what I thought it would be," she said. "It’s not what I want to do. I really liked meeting people."

The experience was just like finding a real job. She had to go for an interview and learn the rules about confidentiality. She also had to follow their dress code.

She also went through new employee training.

"I didn’t know that all banking entailed," she said. She filed, typed, cleaned, shredded and did deposits.

"I didn’t know what to expect," Satterlee said. But, "I knew I would grow from it."

She learned that there are far more jobs in banking than she thought. The bank liked her too and offered her an internship next summer. She said she will definitely tell her friends to take the class.

Brock teaches the career mentoring class, and began the semester finding interests and doing career awareness. Some of the career options are not available in Hoisington, so they had to adapt and think outside the box.

The students were required to give a presentation about what they had learned at the end of the semester.

HHS Principal Meg Wilson said, "I was really impressed with the presentations showing what skills they had learned."

She was also pleased that the students now understood why they had to take certain classes, and the real life applications.

In reviewing the class, several of the students wish they had completed the class in their junior year and then would have taken different classes their senior year.

The class has already grown from 10 to 18 students this semester. The students are not paid and work for two class periods per year.

"It opens their eyes to job opportunities in Hoisington," said Brock. "They now have contacts who can act as a resource."

"The class started with a vision from the HHS site council last spring," said Wilson. "We took a leap of faith and began the program. It’s the vision we have for the district."