Rebekah Cook tucked a packet about opportunities at Schneck Medical Center in her iPad case to save for later.
The Crothersville High School sophomore said the information may be useful when she decides what career path she wants to pursue or job shadow opportunities she may take during a school break.
Right now, she is still exploring options in the medical or education field and remains undecided.
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“I think it is a good idea to let students know about what all is out there,” she said Wednesday in between career day sessions at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School, the first the school has offered in some time.
Linda Myers, the school’s agriculture teacher, presented the idea to host a career day for high school students to first-year Principal Adam Robinson after former students told her there was a need for such an event.
Robinson then suggested the school should offer the resources to all students in the junior-senior high school.
“I asked students when they needed to know information about careers, and they said they needed to know before entering high school,” Myers said. “(Robinson) challenged us to do a schoolwide career day in one day, so I just kind of dove into it, and help from all of our staff put it together.”
The career day featured representatives from 16 employers across a range of industries to share information about careers and benefits each offer to employees. Industries ranged from health care and law enforcement to manufacturing and military, among a slew of others.
Nearly a dozen colleges also showed up for an afternoon session to share information about programs they offer.
Because the school offers some unique education opportunities, Myers said she found that students at Crothersville need to have an idea of what they want to do upon entering high school while planning for the career day.
“They need to know going into high school what they need because of what we offer,” she said.
The school offers the Austin Crothersville Early College Initiative, where sophomores, juniors and seniors can take dual credit courses and earn an associate degree in high school, and has students attend C4, a study and workforce program in Columbus.
On Wednesday, eighth-grade students toured the C4 facilities. That information will help provide a direction for some students, Robinson said.
“It’s nice to be able to get as much exposure to kids in such a little amount of time,” he said. “I think this gives them a quick snapshot of what’s out there and where they may be heading when they leave this building.”
For Cook, the information from Schneck Medical Center intrigued her, particularly the Seymour hospital’s tuition assistance program.
Cook said she would have to pay for college through student loans, but Schneck’s offering of helping with school costs would be a path she would consider.
“(Tuition assistance) would help me a lot because I wouldn’t be spending as much money on college,” she said.
Cook said her interest in health care comes from her stepmother, who has worked in an OB/GYN practice. She said she has an interest in pursuing a career in that field.
“It opened up my eyes about all the opportunities Schneck offers,” she said, adding it helped to hear from an employee from the hospital.
Jaclyn Williams, who works in human resources at Schneck, presented the information during one of the sessions.
“They can really tell you what it’s like working at the place they’re talking about,” Cook said.
Following the session with Schneck, Cook said she thought the event would help students begin to really consider what areas of the work force interest them.
“It makes students open their eyes and think about the opportunities they have,” she said.
That thought was music to Robinson’s ears because younger students sometimes don’t think as far into the future as they should, he said.
He hopes the career day will help them come up with a long-term plan after high school.
“At some point, you’re going to leave this building, and you need to think about what you want to do with your life,” he said.
Robinson said students seemed to be engaged in the process as he walked throughout the school and observed some of the sessions.
“I’ve seen a lot of hand raising,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of questions being asked as I’ve gone through the different rooms.”
Sophomore Dillon Maschino said he was interested in the presentation from Aisin USA Manufacturing Inc.
“There was a lot of learn from them,” he said. “They told us what they made and how many places they have around the world and the people they need to make their stuff.”
While he is not fully committed to a decision on what he wants to do after college, Maschino is considering either a career in the military or going to college to study business management.
Hearing Aisin’s needs for people who study business peaked his interest a little more in the subject.
“I think this career day is helping me know what all is out there,” he said. “I didn’t know about all the plants Aisin had out there, and it’s a lot more than I thought.”
Having a variety of industries should help students discover a multitude of opportunities, he said.
“It shows what different types of what is out there if you didn’t really spend time seeking it out,” Maschino said.
Seeing the day unfold as she and so many helped plan, Myers said she hoped the career day inspired students to explore options they may not have considered before.
“Maybe somebody might spark an interest in something they had not thought of yet and sort of plant the seed,” she said. “Maybe they won’t get it today, maybe it will be a few years from now when it clicks, but if we can provide that first step, then we’ve made a difference.”