By Helen Quinlan
As children poured into the great room of the Gwinnett Civic Center, 165 companies, colleges, as well as 17 Georgia Departments of Education career clusters were at the ready to talk with the kids about what their kind of business could mean to them in their future.
On Friday, Nov 13th, The Gwinnett County Public School district held a Career Connections Exhibit for eighth grade middle schoolers from 8 schools that feed into the Five Career Academy Schools (Central Gwinnett HS, Lanier HS, Meadowcreek HS, Shiloh HS and South Gwinnett HS). By moving towards a College and Career Academy model, these academies allow GCPS to accelerate academic work, better prepare students for college and career, improve the graduation rate and assist in making knowledgeable career decisions.
The exhibit helped these middle schoolers find their passion and focus on their career paths prior to entering high school. As the children approached the individual business booths, the companies explained what it takes to make it in their business. The children asked questions like “What can I do to prepare myself now if this is the career I would like to have in the future?” and “From your point of view, what do you find to be most challenging about this career?” Innovation, ingenuity and creativity were also questioned.
Representing the Gwinnett Citizen, I was approached by 2 very enthusiastic young ladies from Lanier MS, Sarah Gailey and Moore MS, Ahkeelah Lindo. Their smiles captivated me as they asked all about working for a newspaper. I was so excited to tell them the ins and outs of working at a monthly newspaper. I believe I shared the feelings of other business owners who passed along their passions as we answered their questions.
Alvin Willbanks, GCPS superintendent gave a great motivational speech to us. He believes that along with our career academies, children will be prepared for their future by being connected using 3 tiers: 2 year education, post-secondary education and learning in the workplace. He thanked all who participated for their unselfishness and belief that we have in our children.
Thank you to Jody Reeves, executive director for Academies, Career and Technical Education, who organized the event. She said “Just as the world is changing… so are our high schools.” Through our Academy programs we can provide students with more of the advanced skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college, career, and life. Events like this help prepare our students for the opportunities they will have and allow them to explore a number of careers that might be of interest to them.”