A first-of-its-kind effort at Unadilla Valley Central School held March 17 was designed to expose middle and high school students to the world beyond the school’s walls with the hopes of inspiring their futures.
Hundreds of students in grades six through 12 participated in College and Career Day, held at both the school building and off-site at dozens of colleges, businesses and other organizations.
Studies of public education have shown that American students are, in general, not getting significant levels of exposure to opportunities in the world beyond their own microcosms. The Unadilla Valley College and Career Day is designed to plant seeds and ignite sparks.
“It is important to show kids opportunities that they possibly did not even know existed, to show them things they may not otherwise have had a chance to see,” said Student Advocate Kevin Nial, helped organize the event. “If kids see a college campus or a career opportunity it might just spark a goal and a resulting lifelong adventure.”
Sixth grade students stayed at the school and engaged with guest speakers.
Seventh through 11th grade students went on field trips. Half the day was spent at area colleges to learn about higher education, and the other half was spent at businesses to learn about occupations.
Grade 12 students went on one-to-one job shadowing experiences. The students examined more than 50 occupations in a variety of fields. Opportunities included shadowing an electrician, several positions in local industry, small business owners and workers and many more.
“They represented our school well. The kids really sent seemed to get a lot out of it,” Nial said.
The seniors previously had a workshop on resume development and they will be presenting their resumes to those that they shadow for feedback.
Nial said it is hoped that this becomes an annual event so that each year, students get to have different experiences, giving them an edge when it becomes time to decide their college and career paths after high school graduation.
“I think it went really well. It was a good experience and we’re going to continue it,” Nial said.