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Lunch and Learn helps students find careers

By Lauren Shell and Kali Thompson

South Rowan High School

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

That question has become one of the most popular questions we students hear on a daily basis.

Yet with more than 30,000 careers out there, that is such a difficult question to process. How will we know? What if we choose the wrong one? What steps do we even take to figure out what we want to do?

South Rowan High School has started the journey of helping students answer these difficult and life-altering questions through multiple initiatives, including Lunch and Learn, directed by South Rowan’s career coach, Brad Holda, in coordination with Blaire Goodale, career development coordinator. Holda and Goodale teamed up with Brad Hamrick, occupational course of study teacher, and Mark Vanderslice, CTE teacher.

“Lunch and Learn” is exactly what it sounds like. Students take their lunchtime to learn about an in-demand and popular career of their choosing, as part of an 11-part speaker series. This series is directed toward students who are eager to explore career options.

The classroom is decorated in school spirit by students enrolled in interior design class. Thanks to the work of Hamrick, students who attended the Lunch and Learn sessions were greeted and served snacks and beverages by his students, who had to interview for the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my students to strongly interact with (general education) students as they are learning the critical soft skills and servant leadership it takes to positively contribute to society,” Hamrick said.

“The synergy created amongst South Rowan teachers and the community is a real asset that benefits our students,” Vanderslice said.

Students most recently attended the cosmetology Lunch and Learn on Nov. 15, led by Salon Arabella’s Patty Hudson. This was the third L&L; the previous two were on nursing and game development/entrepreneurship.

At this particular gathering, Hudson discussed how to prepare for a cosmetology career while in high school as well as what steps one should take beyond high school to fulfill the dream of becoming a cosmetologist or owning a salon one day. She offered a range of insightful information and helpful tips to the students, while maintaining an interesting and optimistic atmosphere throughout her presentation.

Paraticipants were eager to ask questions about Hudson’s experiences as well as inquire what steps they should take in order to achieve a position in the cosmetology field.

Autumn Crowell reflected on the session, saying it was “extremely beneficial and helped me know what steps I need to take.”

Carlie Moore agreed, adding, “I’m so glad I came. Patty is awesome!”

Lunch and Learn is only in its beginning stages at South Rowan. Holda and Goodale plan to continue the program throughout the year.

The next Lunch and Learn will feature the field of veterinary. With 21st-century careers now requiring more education and skills than ever, information sessions like these give students the exposure they need to make smart career choices.

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