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Henderson Independent High School students talk careers

SALISBURY – Twelfth-grade students at Henderson Independent High School had the chance to speak with representatives in their prospective career fields during Career Day.

In honor of National Career Development Month in November, students met with people who work in nursing, manufacturing, health care, banking, cosmetics, and more fields.

“We have Allied Health, F&M Bank, some retired military gentlemen, a retired truck driver, and the Wildlife Resources Commission here as well,” said Dominique Bates, the school’s career development coordinator.

Anastasia Adams, who is an aspiring nurse, said she learned that if she wants to pursue nursing she should not “go after it simply for the money.”

“I either want to work with kids or become a travel nurse. I always wanted to travel and, I love, help people,” Adams said.

Tonesha Turner, a licensed practical nurse with Atrium Health, was one of many who volunteered their time to speak with seniors at Henderson.

Turner said she’s “always had a passion for helping people.”

“I was raised with my grandparents. They inspired me to go and help people, and I love making a difference,” she said.

Turner said in her one-on-one conversation with Adams, she told her that “nursing is nursing.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an LPN. It doesn’t matter if you have a bachelor’s degree. A nurse is a nurse,” Turner said. “I started as a certified nursing assistant for six years, then started work as an LPN. And now I am returning to school to go get my bachelor of science in nursing degree.”

Turner said her end-goal is to become a nurse practitioner.

“A lot of people go straight for it, but if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Because it costs a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of energy. So just take baby steps,” she said.

Courtney George, a career and technical education business teacher, said students were given a career aptitude test designed by Myers Briggs to match students with their career of interest.

George said results were used to match each individual student with someone in the community who works in their prospective industry or career of choice.

Students asked employers questions about their main responsibilities at work, their typical workday, a realistic salary for the career choice, the potential for advancement, as well as the necessary skills and personality traits essential to success.

“The overall goal for the event is to support Career Development Week and the entire month and to also connect students with people in the community — Rowan County and Cabarrus County — so that they see that they can have a future. It may not necessarily mean college, but maybe community college,” George said. “We also try to provide alternative options for students, such as if someone is interested in majoring in engineering they could also look into the electrical field.”

Immediately following each interview was a follow-up conversation with students about their career goals and how they could best work to achieve them.

“I enjoy building relationships with the students and enjoy trying to figure out what it is they like to do, how they best like to learn, and seeing how I can meet them where they are at,” Bates said.

Students at North Rowan High School also had a Career Day when recent graduates came back to their alma mater to hold a panel discussion with college and career readiness students in order to inspire them and provide guidance.

“They need inspiration and guidance, and for them to hear from someone in the field the same things we tell them, hopefully this will help things sink in,” Bates said.

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