Students at North Sanpete Middle School
learn about world of work
By Suzanne Dean
MORONI—Seventh graders at the North Sanpete Middle School visited with a wide spectrum of career representatives during a career fair last week.
Sixteen professionals ranging from an instructor in farm management at Snow College to a geotechnical engineer for the Forest Service to a cosmetologist and esthetician each sat at a table in the gym.
There were five or six chairs around each table. The event was divided into intervals of about 10 minutes each. Students chose which table they wanted to visit.
At each table, the youngsters asked assigned questions and filled out the answers on worksheets. Some of the questions were: “What training do you need for the career?” “What is the work schedule?” And the cincher: “What is the pay range.”
The career fair is one of a host of projects and events that are part of a year course, now required by the state for all seventh graders, called “College and Career Awareness” (CCA).
Three teachers—Carey Ivory, Corby Briggs and Shawnee Sagers—teach the CCA course. Each teacher is responsible for a cluster of what are called career “pathways.” For instance, Sagers teaches about careers in health, human services, education, agriculture and food. Briggs covers engineering, building trades and other technical careers. Ivory is responsible for careers in business, computer science and travel.
The seventh graders at the school are divided into three classes. The teachers have divided the school year into trimesters. Each class of students spends one-third of the year with each teacher. By year-end, the youngsters have been exposed to scores of job possibilities.
One of the instructors, Sagers, says she emphasizes experiences and projects rather than book learning and tests in her CCA class. For instance, students interested in health careers are required to do a short internship with a health professional. And students interested in becoming teachers get to teach the CCA class itself in 15-minute segments.
She says some of the kids who acted as teachers have told her, “We had no idea how much effort is required to teach 15 minutes of class. We have so much more respect for you, Ms. Sagers.”
The year in CCA is eye opening for the seventh graders, Sagers adds. “They learn what they like. They realize you don’t always need a four-year degree—maybe a tech school is okay.
“We introduce the pathways here, and [students] can solidify their pathways at the high school,” Sagers adds.
North Sanpete High School offers courses related to some of the job fields. And some of the courses can lead to certifications required to begin careers.
For instance, students interested in health care can take courses in high schools to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and certified nurse assistants (CNAs).
Then they can take state licensing tests in those fields.
A few students interviewed say the career fair was a good experience. “I like it,” Jazelle Parent says. “You can see all the jobs and careers.” She says the fair got her thinking about “life” and where her own life is headed.