Transitioning from High School into the “real world” is often anxiety-provoking for kids, whether they’re going on to college, into an apprenticeship program, going straight into the work force, or going into a job readiness program. At Hope Hall, our faculty and staff work hard to make sure our students are well-prepared for that transition.
Toward the end of the school year, Coach Jim Zehr discovered that his tenth grade class was particularly interested in learning about careers, so he developed the idea for a career fair. They researched careers of interest, then prepared presentations to share what they’d learned with the rest of the student body.
Below, some of our students who participated in the career fair speak about their career interests, and what they learned in researching that prospective career. Coach Jim Zehr, Mrs. Laura Ocasio, and Mrs. Selena Wentz, our instructors who work with our students to prepare them for life after Hope Hall, share some of the ways in which they help build career and job-seeking skills.
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Coach Jim Zehr discusses Hope Hall’s Career Fair, that inspired this series
Adrian Ortiz talks about his interest in Nuclear Engineering
Monica Allen discusses her interest in Zoology
Mrs. Selena Wentz shares insights on the many things she and the transition team do to help prepare High School Students for life beyond Hope Hall
Ricky Ferrari-Clark shares his interest in a career in real estate and flooring installation
Rafael Senior discusses his goal of becoming a Marine
College & Career Transitions Teacher Laura Ocasio talks about the activities she and her team undertake to prepare students for life after Hope Hall.
In May’s newsletter, there’s a strong focus on this year’s Walk for Hope. Sister Diana talks about the importance of Sole Mates — our wonderful friends who help support our students in their Walk for Hope by donating to support individual students or classes in their fundraising efforts. You’ll also find additional ways in which you can participate…through being an individual or Community Partner or by donating gift cards to places students love, to be used as prizes. All of these options are so important this year because all of the money raised supports our Hope for Tomorrow Campaign, enabling the school’s expansion, renovation and enhancement to programming.
You’ll also find:
“The Hope for Tomorrow Campaign is Music to Our Students’ Ears,” in which we share information on how the music room and program will be enhanced by the renovation.
An article about Career Week at Hope Hall, and the visitors who came in to share insights about various career opportunities.
“Readers Theater, A Mesopotamian Myth,” in which Mr. Carman uses the Dolce Method of Learning Mastery® to teach social studies curriculum about the ancient world
An Alumni Spotlight on Georgia Dunn, Class of 2020, who just graduated from Continental School of Beauty
Registration and Sponsorship Information on the High Hopes Golf Tournament (Register quickly, as the field is already 2/3 full!)
Mr. Jeff Smith is Hope Hall’s College and Career Transitions Teacher, and he takes a very active role in his students’ preparation for life after Hope Hall. Whether they intend to enter the workforce directly, or plan to go on to college or trade school, it’s important to him that the skills he teaches are practical and useful.
Mr. Smith takes a hands-on approach to helping students from 9th grade through Senior year do a variety of tasks to help them find direction, such as taking career surveys, developing goals, and achieving community service hours.
The Juniors and Seniors who work with him come out with both physical and digital portfolios for use in securing employment, or for acceptance into higher education.
“We try to hit on life skills not taught in other schools,” Mr. Smith noted, explaining that he has the students actually fill out sample job applications, write mock checks, check their credit scores, and explore various aspects of banking and financial management, including financial aid for school, and savings and retirement options.
He focuses on developing important skills that include interviewing, time management and organizational capabilities.
“I also have them work on typing, because I always wish I could do more than hunt and peck,” he laughed.
He went on to say that he tries to make all of the activities he teaches as experiential as possible. When students get out in the real world, they’ll feel more confident, having had actual hands-on experience in many of the tasks they’ll have to undertake to find a job or to be successful in a different academic environment.
For example, in the unit they were discussing on the engineering and manufacturing industries, he had small groups of students collaborate to see who could build the tallest free-standing tower possible out of 20 pieces of spaghetti, three marshmallows and a length of tape. He used the experience of working together on the project to get the students thinking about engineering, but also about team work, and what made the process of working together either rewarding or frustrating.
When possible, he has guests come in and give the students an overview of particular career clusters that are of interest to the students. Because of COVID, in-person visits have been much more difficult to arrange, so Mr. Smith often uses zoom or video footage to bring professionals “into the classroom.”
Following the tower building project, the students “went inside” a company, via video, that manufactures metal buildings, to see an interview with an executive at the company who spoke about career paths within the company, the variety of skillsets needed, and what personal characteristics the company looks for when recruiting employees.
On another day, he had a bridal consultant join via zoom for some of his students who were interested in fashion.
Overall, he wants to expose them to as many real-world experiences as possible to ensure they feel confident entering the career force or their next phase of academic life.
Mrs. Michelle Robinson is Hope Hall’s College and Career Transitions Coordinator, and part of her responsibility is helping students prepare for the next phase after High School. To do that, she takes students on field trips to colleges, and brings in speakers to share information about academic and work resources available.
Beginning in 9th Grade, Mrs. Robinson pushes into classrooms, getting to know the students and their interests and skills, to help guide them in their career or academic paths. She also meets one-on-one with any students who would like dedicated assistance. Additionally, she assists them in finding community service hours, which is important in securing employment or being accepted into higher education.
Through her connections and resources, she brings in speakers from organizations who can provide the next step toward future success as they leave Hope Hall and enter the workforce or pursue college. This year, guests have included:
ARC of Monroe – This organization offers pre-vocational work experiences, connects clients to job opportunities and provides job coaching
REOC (Rochester Educational Opportunity Center) – REOC is affiliated with SUNY Brockport, and offers a variety of services, including assistance preparing for a career in Business and IT, the Healthcare Field, the area of Childhood Development, Occupational trades such as cosmetology, culinary arts, barbering and security guard, as well college preparation and vocational studies.
ACCES-VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) – ACCESS-VR professionals assists individuals with an IEP (Individualized Education Program) to achieve and maintain employment and to support independent living through training, education, rehabilitation, and career development.
When possible, Mrs. Robinson brings in speakers to help familiarize the students with various professions, although this has been more challenging during the pandemic. In the spring, she anticipates bringing in a Dentist to talk about the various careers available in the field of dentistry.
One of Mrs. Robinson’s goals is to build a database of Hope Hall Alumni, to stay in closer touch with them, and to learn of their successes and how they’ve progressed. If you are an Alum of Hope Hall, or you know someone who is, please get in touch with Mrs. Robinson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: At top, Mrs. Robinson Mrs. works with Seniors Naomi and Linda on applications
At right top, Patty takes questions from students about REOC’s services
At right bottom, Matt from ARC of Monroe explains the organization’s services to the Seniors