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LEARNING ON THE JOB: CHMS students shadow local employees

Students at Charles Henderson Middle School got hands-on learning Friday during the school’s job shadowing day event.

The eighth-grade students selected career fields that they were interested in. and shadowed employees a those local businesses and organizations.

Tiana McWhite, CHMS counselor, said the experience provides a chance for students to open their eyes about possible career fields and prepare them for the next chapter of their academic lives.

“This is the year for students to really start thinking about what they want to do in the future,” McWhite said. “At the end of the year, our ninth grade counselors will come in to plan a course of study for them for their high school careers. If they start thinking about those things now, they can start catering their academic careers to prepare for their future careers.”

The students saw firsthand what jobs are like in various career fields including journalism, fire response, law enforcement, athletic management tax preparation and much more.

Will Templin said his favorite part of shadowing Jace Sanders at Troy University Athletics was seeing how the graphics were designed and put on social media.

“We also did a walkthrough of the north end zone facility  and went up to the baseball field and cleaned out the press box for the upcoming season,” Sanders said. “We’ve been all over the place.”

Troy police captain Danny Barron said no parent wants to see his or her child become a police officer because of the danger, but he enjoyed having his son along with him for the day to see what a day in the life is like.

“It’s been an easier day to day,” Barron said, “We’ve been around to city hall, the 911 call center and the jail and showed him all of that.”

At The Messenger, Lazaevius Collins and Jasmine Cannon got to see behind the scenes of how the newspaper is put together and even got to take some photos for the February 2 Weekend edition. The students said they were excited to have photos they took appear in the paper.

“We encourage students to actually seek out occupations and career fields that interest them so they can start learning about that career and get hands-on experience and determine if that’s something they may want to do long-term,” McWhite said. It’s great that so many of the local organizations and businesses are so willing to take our students; these kids are the future of Troy. I’m so glad everyone is so open and willing to work with us … It’s something looked forward to every year in February.”

Even if the students don’t end up enjoying the on-the-job experience as much as they had expected, McWhite said that is helpful as well.

“At the end of the job shadowing we give all of our students a questionnaire on what education is required for that job and what kind of activities and what kind of skills are required,” McWhite said. “If a student went to a pharmacy and they realize this is a lot, they’re going to have to be in school for so many years and that’s not really the route they want to go, if they start thinking about that in eighth grade they still have time to make those changes.”