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DHS students explore college, career options

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Delta High School carved out a 90-minute block last week to expose juniors to career options in medicine, business, banking, science, education and a variety of other fields. During the same block of time, freshmen were learning and practicing self-advocacy skills through role play scenarios of everyday events. Sophomores took the ASVAB test to measure vocational aptitude and seniors filled out financial aid applications and sat in on presentations from Colorado Mesa University and Lincoln College of Technology.

High school counselors lined up community professionals to discuss career options with juniors. During the 90-minute segment, students rotated through three career talks of their choice.

Tonnie Bules, one of the presenters, explained how becoming self-employed as a sales director for Mary Kay cosmetics has given her the flexibility she desires for her family. Frances Comeau of Volunteers of America explained how a career in nursing can be built upon, from LPN to RN to a master's level education.

All presenters were asked to share the skills they value in prospective employees. Bules said it's important to look an employer in the eye, speak clearly and dress appropriately. Integrity, computer know-how and professional conduct are also important.

"If you leave here with just one thing, it's this," she said. "Leaders are readers. School is never out for professionals."

"It was really exciting to see our first ICAP Advisory Day come together with such buy-in and support from our community, staff and students," said Shawna Magtutu, DHS counselor. "In a small, rural town where access to postsecondary exposure is extremely limited we strongly believe in the importance of bringing college and career discovery to our students at every opportunity.

"Growing up in Delta is different from growing up in a major city. There aren't major universities or employers like IBM or Lockheed Martin nearby. Yet together we have leveraged the strength of our community by empowering an amazing web of small business owners and community professionals to inspire and mentor our students toward career pathways."

Magtutu said college and career exploration can never start too early as there are so many avenues and steps that look different for every student.

"Being workforce ready includes more than simply a traditional four-year college degree," Magtutu said. "The trades are booming with demand right now. Employees want graduates with 21st century skills, not just a diploma, and invaluable career connections can come from volunteer or apprenticeship-like work experiences.

"We look forward to continuing to offer more workshops like this one, throughout the year. It helps us provide tailored outreach to every student, helping them realize all of their options after high school, as well as taking the necessary steps now to reach their college and career goals."

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