Groundhog Day shadows

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2000

mean start of bright futures


Features Editor

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Jan. 25, 2000 10 PM

On Feb. 2 of each year, this nation holds its collective breath, waiting to see what that world renowned weatherhog Punxsutawney Phil will predict.

If Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, he will run for cover because six more weeks of winter misery are on the way.

But, in Pike County, shadows on Groundhog Day could mean the beginning of bright futures for many Pike County students.

Last year on Groundhog Day, more than 135 business opened their doors to 216 eighth-grade and Career Technical students from the Troy City and Pike County school systems as they participated in the second National Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

The opportunity to visit a workplace and see, first hand, a business in action sheds light on the skills that are necessary to be successful at that job. Some came away from a workplace thinking, "Hey, I’d like to do that," while others decided, "That’s not for me."

And that is a purpose of the Troy City/ Pike County School to Work Opportunities program – to introduce students to career opportunities. Another purpose of the program is to show students how the skills they learn in school can be put into action in the workplace.

Plans are now underway for the third annual National Groundhog Job Shadow Day Wednesday, Feb. 2, said Evelyn Watson, School to Work Opportunities coordinator.

"We are contacting employers asking them to open their doors to the students and/or allow employees to bring their eighth-grade students to work on that day to observe what a ‘real job’ is like."

Watson said participating in this event will be a win-win situation.

"Employers will be able to share with students what will be expected of them in the workplace and students will experience, first hand, what a day in the ‘real world’ has to offer," she said. "Imagine the value of the experience for a student as he watches his parents or relatives hard at work and realizes how each job is important and contributes to the success of your business."

Watson said students will see how manners, courtesy, punctuality, dependability and teamwork are as important in the workplace as hard work and technical skills.

"They will see how people have to work together and do their part correctly so that everyone is proud of the end result," she said.

Parents are being asked to set up at least a half-day job shadowing experience for their student and give him or her the chance to learn about the activities, skills and abilities their job requires.

Each student who participates must return to school a signed permission form with the information about the person whom they will be shadowing.

"We want to encourage parents to make this valuable experience available to their eighth grader," Watson said. "Job shadowing is an eye opening experience for all the students. We want everyone of them to have this experience."