Junior Achievement class helps students meet career goals
Olivia Neeley | Times
Barton College assistant admissions director Corey Coley, left, works with Hunt High School students Alexi Sanders, X’Zavier Edwards and X’Zavion Leake during a Junior Achievement class.
Community leaders recently went back to high school to inspire current students as they explore career paths and learn how to navigate them successfully.
Over a six-week period, dozens of Hunt High School career management students heard from 19 guest speakers thanks to a curriculum-based national program — Junior Achievement USA. The nonprofit partners with corporations and individuals to fund the programs.
“They were made up of professionals from our community with all different career paths and experiences to share,” said Dana Lee, Hunt High’s career development coordinator.
Lee said this particular Junior Achievement program explored crucial workplace skills that employers are seeking but young people often haven’t been exposed to.
The Wilson Rotary Club and Wilson Education Partnership partnered with Lee to bring the Career Success Junior Achievement curriculum in as an extension of Hunt High’s career management class.
In one class, Barton College assistant admissions directors Corey Coley, Angel Brake and Jailynn Thomas were engaging students to identify personal brands and offering tools for job hunting, including advice on resumes, cover letters, interviews and digital profiles.
Hunt High students X’Zavier Edwards and X’Zavion Leake said they really enjoyed the class.
“They come in and interact with the students,” Edwards said. “I like the activities that we do.”
Leake said he’s been engaged because he learned different things each session.
Career management teacher Pernell Ingram said he’s noticed a difference. Students are working together with a lot of hands-on activity.
“A lot of the things that we have covered in class are being reinforced with the things we are doing in the program,” Ingram said.
All 67 students received a certificate for completing the program.
‘IT PREPARES THEM FOR THE REAL WORLD’
Lee said the lessons and materials — provided at no cost to the school or the district — impressed her.
“The lessons contained important workplace readiness skills and engaging activities that reinforced the topics,” she said.
Wilson Rotary Club President Clark Moore said it’s a great program. He said the Wilson Rotary Club brought a Junior Achievement entrepreneurship program to Rock Ridge and New Hope elementary schools in 2019, right before COVID-19 hit, and it proved to be a success.
Moore said the high school program at Hunt cultivated skills including work ethic, adapting to change and making eye contact and sought to boost critical thinking, communication and verbal skills.
“Some of the skills they’ve learned, hopefully they will continue to visit and help propel them in their future life,” Moore said. “It prepares them for the real world.”
WEP Executive Director Robin Williams said part of the organization’s mission is to connect the business community with students and teachers through work-based learning initiatives and programs.
Community leaders don’t just go in and talk to students; they have a Junior Achievement lesson plan where students engage in learning activities that focus on career readiness success.
“The program is part of the high school Work and Career Readiness pathway, and this experience helps students make real-world connections and build relationships,” Williams said.
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