Approximately 50 community members and students in the Highview Alternative Program took part in a “speed networking” event April 5 at the school. Twenty-one professionals from throughout the area conducted interviews with 26 student participants, who had the opportunity to ask questions related to their professions. Students had seven minutes to interview each guest, gleaning information about what the job entails, what type of education is required and what skills are needed.
The event was part of a career and college planning class taught by event organizers Dawn Kalina and Linda Valentine.
Highview Principal Gretchen Wurzer said the event had a positive impact on many of the students.
“They were very engaged, with eye-contact and shaking hands and nodding,” she observed. “It opens their eyes to careers they’d have never thought of, and it puts them in touch with someone from the outside world. The kids gained so much information.”
“This is the second time we’ve done this particular speed interviewing event. I think the community members who participate in it are super impressed with our kids,” Wurzer said.
Students had a questionnaire they used to ask each community participant. Wurzer said many students were inspired by careers they weren’t aware of, and the enthusiasm showed as students asked follow-up questions after the event in some cases.
The career and college planning class rigorously prepares students to jump into a chosen career or college after graduation, with each student having a resume and portfolio in hand by the end of the course. Mock interviews and other preparation techniques help further prepare the students for success after high school.