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Thirty sophomores from Dalton High School spent January 31 with professionals in their field of interest for the annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Students delved into their interests of law, counseling, education, interior design, pharmacy, nutrition and more.
Work Based Learning Coordinator Larry Tripp said that since 2001, hundreds of DHS students have benefited from the connections developed through the Groundhog Job Shadow Day experience.
"Groundhog Job Shadow Day provides the opportunity for students to connect classroom experiences with real world applications," he said. "Students develop a deeper understanding of the relevance of content knowledge and its application in business and industry."
Victoria Magaña was eager to get more experience in a classroom after finding her passion for education through DHS's early childhood pathway. She has known for a while she wanted to be a teacher but was stuck deciding between a high school English teacher or working at the elementary level.
"Today has been awesome seeing two different classrooms and two sets of students at Brookwood," she said. "I am 100 percent sold on being at this level. I think my creativity and my drive would fit perfectly with this age group. Their behavior and personality at this age is just what I'm looking for to be able to really connect with the students while still making an impact on their lives."
Katy Stacy, second grade teacher at Brookwood, was happy to have an extra set of hands in her classroom. She was able to answer Magaña's questions about the route to becoming an educator through schooling and certification requirements. And she knows that having as much hands-on time as possible is the best way to learn about the profession.
"I hope she gets an authentic look today at what it is really like to be a teacher – both the ups and downs," said Stacy. "She will be experiencing a read aloud, reading groups, writer's workshop, math stations, etc."
On the other side of town, Lauren Hughes got a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day operations of local interior design firm, Simply Outrageous. Hughes explained that her older sister interned at the firm and helped train current intern and DHS senior Sloan Hungerpiller.
Interior Designer Jennifer Cross wants to give her interns exposure to real-life scenarios so they will learn the skills they'll need for a real job someday. "I want them to get experience not only in the design aspect of the business, but also to help with the accounting at the end of the month, purchasing supplies, or meeting with customers," she said. "I'd love to work more with the schools to put the right students in that position."
Hungerpiller is interested in pursuing the field of interior design after gaining the experience from Simply Outrageous. "You realize that to get to the good stuff, you have to go through the stuff you may not like as much," she explained. "Every job has both. With this job I've gotten exposure to new social business interactions I wouldn't have otherwise been through, and I've learned to pay attention to the details."
Hungerpiller will train Hughes to step into that role.
Avery Hill followed DPS School Nutrition Director Wimberly Brackett from school-to-school and learned the details of being a dietician. Madison Boyd looked over the shoulders of graphic designers at Marketing Alliance, gaining an interest in the subject through the DHS graphic design pathway and visiting the company on a Skills USA field Trip.
"I want to discover what skills I'll need or what programs I need to learn and see how that will look in my career," said Boyd. "I'm very happy to be here."
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