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Middle-schoolers get taste of real-world interviews

May 10, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Zoologist, cook, sporting-goods store employee, veterinarian, biomedical engineer and tattoo artist.

Waynesboro Area Middle School students participating in mock job interviews Monday had a wide range of plans for their future careers.

Retired guidance counselor Jay Heefner, one of 11 people who conducted interviews, said it would be interesting to check back with the children in a few years to determine how many stick with their current goals.

"It was nice getting back in with this age group. The kids are really at a point where they're becoming self-aware," said Heefner, who volunteered to conduct interviews again Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Assistant Principal Kim Calimer said the Waynesboro Area Business, Education and Community Foundation sponsors the "Adventures in Learning" program for eighth-graders. The program is designed to provide students with real-world experiences that teach about qualities required for success in any career.

In addition to community leaders providing interviews, high school students from Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) provided four workshops. They talked about workplace performance, teamwork, communications in the work environment and appearance.

"We're learning to deal with stress, anger and fear," Stefan Hollenshead said of a workshop lesson.

Stefan, 13, said he felt slightly stressed before his interview, in which he talked about his desire to work at Cornell Abraxas Youth Center in South Mountain, Pa. Like many other students, Stefan took his teachers' advice and dressed up for the occasion.

Stefan wore a suit, but didn't necessarily enjoy it.

"It kind of reminds me of going to funerals," he said.

Alicia Rowland, 14, told her interviewer that she wants to be a registered nurse.

"I like to help people. I like the satisfaction of helping people," Alicia said, saying she wrote about her baby-sitting jobs on the resume she presented.

The resumes and job applications included sections about education, work experience, and extracurricular and volunteer activities. They also had areas for information about career objectives.

"For desired pay range, every one I've seen has been like $100,000," Calimer said.

Alicia said she relaxed as the interview progressed.

"I was nervous," she said of the beginning. "That's just the way I am."

Caleb Doyle, 14, said he started to feel more confident as he talked with his interviewer, state Rep. Todd Rock. Caleb wants to get involved with a police K-9 unit.

"I want to be a policeman, and I want to work with dogs, too," he said.

Olivia Wolff, 14, interviewed with Waynesboro Mayor Richard Starliper and told him she wants to combine marine biology and photography studies to become an underwater photographer.

"It went really good. I was more nervous than I needed to be," she said.

Waynesboro Hospital Emergency Department's nursing manager, Crissy Mentzer, said she had a good experience interviewing students.

"It was very enlightening for me to be here today. ... After the first one, it was very easy, and I knew what I wanted to ask them," she said, saying her teenagers wanted to be a lawyer, professional athlete, nurse, sports reporter and physical therapist.

Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz was conducting interviews for the second straight year.

"I think it's well worth the time," he said. "I think it's important to invest time in the youth."

Pentz talked to students about the importance of working hard for good grades and getting involved in extracurricular activities.

"For me, it was nice to see we have a lot of up-and-coming intelligent men and women in our community," he said.

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