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Students at Carroll County Middle School will glimpse the future when they participate in Operation Preparation activities March 12-16 as they learn firsthand about careers they are interested in from people who currently work in those careers.
“I love the idea of matching students up with someone in the career they are interested in for a one-on-one conversation,” said Dana Oak, principal of Carroll County Middle School. “The adult can actually discuss with them the demands of the job, qualifications, hours, salary and other areas. They have firsthand experience, which we as teachers don’t have.”
Guidance Counselor Beth Wallace and Practical Living Teacher Christie Jones have invited more than 30 guests to meet with about 150 eighth graders. Wallace said each career professional will meet face-to-face with a total of five or six students for about 20 minutes each.
Wallace said that the guests include doctors, attorneys, physical therapists, military personnel, business owners, heavy equipment operators and teachers, among others.
“We even have a tattoo artist coming in from Madison to talk to a student who’s interested in that as a career,” said Wallace.
Wallace pointed out that all volunteers who meet one-on-one with students will have undergone training and signed a confidentiality agreement to ensure the students’ privacy.
In addition to one-on-one meetings between students and career professionals in the morning, Wallace also said that 17 presenters will speak to small groups of students on Monday afternoon. The students will rotate through five stations that best match their interests, based on student registration. The career professionals will speak in general about the requirements and preparation needed for their career field and also about the positive and negative aspects of the job.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, the entire eighth grade class will hear from representatives of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Career Services, Empire Beauty School, Galen College of Nursing and 2005 Carroll County High School graduate Courtney Miles Tomblinson, who graduates from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in May.
“I believe there is power in students talking with Carroll County citizens, especially former students,” Oak said. “More educated Carroll County students mean improved opportunities that prepare them for their future. Education equals employment, which in turn equals an improved economy. That leads to higher wages, less dependency on social programs, improved tax receipts, and a safer community.”
To get students to think more about college and careers, students visit colleges and universities, as well as local businesses, industries, and government agencies. Recent scheduled visits include Georgetown College, Carroll County Memorial Hospital, Carroll County Courthouse and the Carrollton police and fire department.
Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to participate in several special dress-up days. Students will kick off the week by wearing “crazy sunglasses” as the theme on Monday is “Your Future is Bright!” On Tuesday, students can dress as their “Future You,” and on Wednesday they will “Dress for Success.” On Thursday, as the NCAA College Basketball Tournament tips off, students will dress in their favorite college team’s color.
To cap off the week, students will have an academic pep rally with a “March Madness” theme to recognize students for good grades, attendance and citizenship. Students will participate in activities related to college and career readiness at the academic pep rally.
Wallace said that she and school officials expect that Operation Preparation will have a lasting positive effect on students.
“I really think our kids are going to set goals,” Wallace said. “I think they will have a goal in mind, something they think is attainable. As they think about high school, they will actually take classes that pertain to what they are interested in doing. It will help them narrow their search and realize that their career future is not that far away.”
Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.