Junior high gets head start on college

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341.

By Belinda M. Paschal - bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com

PIQUA – The Piqua City Schools Board of Education’s brief agenda on Thursday was highlighted by an update on student achievement by Junior High Principal Jeff Clark.

Clark shared details of the school’s College and Career Week, held Nov. 5-9, which exposed students to an array of college and other post-high school experiences.

Organized by counselor Toni Riley, College and Career Week included a trip for eighth graders to Wright State University, where they heard a welcome presentation, followed by a campus and dorm tour. The day concluded with the students taking part in a scavenger hunt around the WSU campus.

In another College and Career Week activity, students toured manufacturing businesses in the area, with each student having the chance to visit two facilities. The participating manufacturers were French Oil, Crayex, Evenflo and Emerson.

“They got to hear from our local businesses about career opportunities,” said Clark, who said the students were transported in morning and afternoon shifts using eight buses apiece.

Eighth graders also got the opportunity to meet with Bowling Green State University recruiter Van Wright, while seventh grade students attended a presentation by the Upper Valley Career Center Adult Division about current job and training opportunities, as well as the importance of developing such “soft skills” as maintaining eye contact and having a firm handshake.

Students weren’t the only ones who participated in College and Career Week, as teachers were given Questions of the Day to spark discussions about their higher education experiences with their classes, e.g., where and why they attended college, what activities they enjoyed, and the biggest challenges they faced.

“We had a pretty full week and we have a lot more to go,” Clark said.

Future activities include a trip to Edison State Community College in the spring, career guest speakers – “in the style of a TED Talk,” Clark explained – and the 13th annual Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) Expo on Dec. 7 at Edison.

The daylong event is designed to help boost interest in STEMM career fields among young women in grades 8-12. Participants will have the chance to explore various aspects of STEMM careers via hands-on learning with industry professionals. Past programs have included sessions ranging from medical laboratory diagnostics and information technology to engineering and animal science.

Clark said the College and Career Week activities, as well as upcoming programs, “complement what we do academically very well.”

The Piqua City Schools Board of Education’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 20, at the board office, 215 Looney Road. BOE meetings can be viewed online at www.piqua.org/Boxcast.aspx.

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341.

By Belinda M. Paschal