Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2003

Career Day launches with a job well done

May 8, 2003

As students began filling the gymnasium at De Soto High School for career day, Harley Mostaffa was keeping watch, making sure everything ran smoothly. As event coordinator, he invested a lot of time and hard work on the project for his fellow students.

"I'm hoping the students will learn about job opportunities when they get out of high school and learn what they need to know about schooling," the senior said.

In addition, Mostaffa was determined to resist job opportunities, in which he wasn't particularly interested.

"I think my goal for the day is not to get recruited for the Army or the Marines," he joked.

Students in De Soto High School's special education and at-risk programs put on the school's first-ever career day last Friday. About 30 local and area businesses were on hand to discuss career possibilities with students.

Matt Jones, at-risk teacher at De Soto High School, said the project was written into the curriculum last year. Special education and at-risk students started from scratch, working for two months on contacting and confirming businesses, coordinating check-in for career day, and preparing the gymnasium for the event.

Jones said one of his technical English classes was responsible for writing scripts students used when soliciting businesses for the event. Learning how to make calls to strangers and knowing the right thing to say were vital skills most of the students picked up very well, he said. He said his students proved to him they could get the job done, although not without some initial uncertainty.

"As far as my class, just getting on the phone and making cold calls to people you don't know was really important," he said. "Some of them were really nervous about doing it."

Refreshments, tables and chairs were available through the students' efforts. One such student was junior Stephanie Manes, who helped provide hospitality at the event.

"I think it's cool that we could help bring it all together and be a part of it," she said.

Not only was the event successful in giving students options for post-graduation job opportunities, Jones said, but it also went off without a hitch.

"We thought that a career fair would be a beneficial way to do more of a hands-on approach to their learning," he said. "I think it went excellent, especially for something that was so student driven."

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