Growing up may be a hard fact for some to admit, but it is bound to happen. Schools are faced with the challenge of preparing students for life ahead, and they are working to make programs readily available to students for continued education or even for a job right after graduating high school. Students need to help out and do their fair share of work for setting themselves up for success.
At Fort Kent Community High School, we are offered a program known as Jobs For Maine Graduates (JMG). According to the organization’s website, “JMG partners with public education and private businesses to offer results-driven solutions to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain postsecondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers.” By taking part in this program students are able to take part in internships and actual jobs. This helps students by opening their eyes to the real world. I talked to one of my friends about this. Brody Albert, a senior from Fort Kent Community High School said he enjoys leaving school to enter the community and getting to see and do the work first hand. He enjoys working at a fast pace and to get things done and this program allows him to do that. When asked what the best thing about the program is, he stated, “The program is hands on” and that “it’s great to see what work really is over the course of the day.”
My school has been preparing students for the future since middle school. In middle school I had taken a class called Career Education. In this class we learned about the 16 career clusters and each job within each cluster. We also learned the education levels needed for each career and what skills and experience may be required. There was a career cluster breakfast for the 7th and 8th grade students last school year in 2016.
The Valley Rivers Middle School Career Cluster Breakfast held this year was very educational and engaging for all involved. This year they plan to have it for all sophomores and juniors, and to keep rotating back and forth between grades 7-8 and 10-11 so every student has a chance to experience it. In this event, members of the community come in and speak about their jobs, while students are separated into groups by the occupations they’re interested in, they would go to the public members according to their group. For example a student interested in law might go to the police officer, and someone interested in the medical field might go see a nurse or doctor.
I have my own ways of preparing; it may not be easy, but for starters, I filled my schedule for high school with only classes that offer credentials. This means I don’t have a single study period and all my work is being done at home or during a class block called Warrior Time, a class every student at Fort Kent Community High School has. Warrior Time is designed for students to conference with a teacher, and to catch up on any classes if they ever fall behind. With this I am staying on top of my work and constantly making sure I don’t slack off in any classes. Also, taking honors classes seems to have helped me too. By taking honors classes doesn’t necessarily mean more work, but the learning definitely has more depth, and provides reasonable challenge. You don’t have to take honors classes, but this is an opportunity to take advantage of and most students might regret not taking it.
In another piece for Raise Your Voice, I had talked about volunteerism and why it is so important for schools to require it as part of credit. Volunteering has been a great help to get me where I want to go. I took the initiative to sign up for an out of school junior firefighter program that will provide me with insight and the experience I will need for future job reference.
At Fort Kent Community High School, some students attend the Saint John Valley Tech Center which is also preparing students who show interest in six different occupations. Students who are interested in automotives, health occupations, construction trades, early childhood education, technologies, and welding can get hands-on experience and even graduate with certifications that allow them to work after school. I talked to another student, Sara Smart, also a senior from Fort Kent Community High School, who goes to the tech center for early childhood education. I asked her what she thought about the program, and she said she really enjoys learning about the kids and to actually get to spend time with them. She feels well prepared for life after graduating and also loves how helpful the teachers are.
Students only taking classes worth credit, or signing up for honors, and AP courses would be a huge benefit for themselves. Schools are trying their best to help their students succeed by providing them with these opportunities and students need to take advantage of them. As Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of America’s top athletes, once said, “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”
Amber Sandstrom is a student at Fort Kent Community High School.
Across the River, by Podington Bear, obtained under a Creative Commons non-commercial license from http://freemusicarchive.org/