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Beyond the Classroom: Assisting students with life planning and promoting the awareness of CTAE programS

by Anna Jones, Tutor Training Coordinator, Service Team (Leadership 23-24)

 

Success in high schools goes far beyond the classroom. Sure, academia is a large part of graduating and moving onto a new chapter of life, but for students who aren’t exposed to the details

of college and career-planning, it can seem to be the only aspect of secondary education.  In order to make known the opportunities of high school, I’m organizing and planting the seeds for a program centered around preparing students for the workplace and exposing them to their options for their futures. Success in high schools goes far beyond the classroom. Sure, academia is a large part of graduating and moving onto a new chapter of life, but for students who aren’t exposed to the details of college and career-planning, it can seem to be the only aspect of secondary education.  In order to make known the opportunities of high school, I’m organizing and planting the seeds for a program centered around preparing students for the workplace and exposing them to their options for their futures. 


I always knew that I wanted to be involved in high school, but it never went further than the idea of becoming student-body president or cheer captain. All of my knowledge was based off of movies or television shows, which aren’t necessarily known for their accuracy in regards to real life. I felt like my future was so far-off, something I didn’t need to worry about, because I’d know when I got there. For some students, this does work out for them, but for others, planning is crucial to their success after graduation. I always knew that I wanted to be involved in high school, but it never went further than the idea of becoming student-body president or cheer captain. All of my knowledge was based off of movies or television shows, which aren’t necessarily known for their accuracy in regards to real life. I felt like my future was so far-off, something I didn’t need to worry about, because I’d know when I got there. For some students, this does work out for them, but for others, planning is crucial to their success after graduation. 


When I began my freshman year at Etowah High School, I had no idea what to get involved in. I

didn’t have anyone to tell me which clubs I should join or what classes I should take. At the time, I thought that maybe being a doctor or nurse would be interesting, and I signed myself up for “Introduction to Healthcare Science”. When I wrote down that I wanted to take my school’s healthcare pathway, I had no idea what an impact it would have on me and the trajectory of my high school career. I had no idea that I would go on to join the healthcare club, HOSA: Future

Health Professionals, or that I’d place in state for an essay and speech I’d written and represent my state at an international conference – all of this taking place during my freshman year. I had no idea how much I would learn from simply being in a career-based pathway and organization, or that by the end of my junior year, I would become President of our local chapter. Looking back on my eighth-grade self writing down “Healthcare” on my course recommendations paper, I am filled with gratitude for that decision. It’s gotten me so much further than I could have ever imagined. I then consider how different my life would have been if I hadn’t stumbled upon a CTAE Program that has impacted me so deeply, and I think about how others who didn’t stumble into a pathway are often unaware of the multitude of options for their futures. This led me to consider ways that I could support my peers by providing informative sessions in the WING for students to get involved in these pathways and programs. 


Throughout my high school career, I’ve been able to speak with a wide variety of people with vastly different hopes and dreams. Although many of these conversations led down different paths, I've noticed that many students have the same hazy outline of what they want to do after high school. For some, this isn’t too overbearing an issue – their parents or other resources at hand will guide them down the “right” path for them – but for others, this leads them to a stopping point. These students may not have parents that support them in pursuing a college education, don’t know what steps to take to afford college, or to begin a career. Students that have support systems throughout their educational career can have the same lack of ideas of their futures as students who are on their own regarding their education, but one of these students has a much better chance in reaching that future that they envisioned for themselves. When students become involved in organizations that support their growth in not only academic achievement, but also in preparing for their future in the workplace, they feel more supported all-around, and this can occur whether or not they have an academic support system outside of school. Guidance and support during high school are major factors in a student’s life after high school, and it’s important that students take advantage of this. In a world where success is often measured by degrees and transcripts, it is vital that students are exposed to all their options for the future. 


Presently, I am laying the groundwork for a program that promotes the representation of career and college-based programs and workshops in a secondary school tutoring center environment. As a center, the WING has hosted events for college applications to be workshopped with school




counselors and hosted WING Talks – events in which members of our high school staff come to present life lessons to students – but my goal is to take that further and nurture these students in as many ways as we can. For those who may not have the ability to discuss these topics at home, I want to create an environment in which that can be done.  


Oftentimes, secondary schools and writing centers focus on and display their priorities as university based. While this is a great objective, we as writing and tutoring centers across the globe need to widen our horizons and set our eyes on representing and aiding students who don’t have a plan for their futures and might not want to attend a traditional four-year college. Career-based courses and programs such as FBLA, HOSA, FCCLA, FFA, and DECA promote and foster a multitude of skills that cannot be gained in other clubs or honors societies in a high-school environment. They can play a critical role for students looking to get involved, because they can make such an impact on their members’ lives beyond high school. Therefore, the East WING has the chance to aid these programs, consequently benefiting its tutors and clients alike. 


I owe so much of my success to my involvement in a career pathway and organization that nurtures the discovery of different possibilities for its students’ futures. As I come to the end of my junior year, I reminisce about all of the memories that I’ve made during my time in HOSA and Etowah’s Healthcare Science Pathway, and I’m so grateful for every single one of them. Three years after I registered to take the pathway at Etowah, I’m still so grateful that I chose to do so, because it has made all the difference to the student and person I’ve become today. 

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