Senior Day provides focused exposure to post-graduation options
After discussing soft skill and employee development with Summit Education Initiative (SEI), Barberton High School Assistant Principal Mike Andric felt inspired to incorporate those concepts into the curriculum.
“We want all students to have a pathway to college, the workforce or military after graduation,” he says. “We try to present as many options as we can for each pathway.”
At Barberton, borrowing SEI’s “Three Es” language – “Enrolled, Employed or Enlisted” – has expanded to a Senior Day. The high school hosted the first Senior Day for its nearly 260 seniors in fall 2016.
“Before the event, we asked each student to complete a survey so we knew his or her intended pathway after high school,” Andric explains. “Students ranked the three Es from 1 to 3, or from most to least interested.”
The structured event featured several community partners, which guided students through the pathway they chose. For example, students interested in enlisting rotated to different classrooms featuring military organizations. They spent about 20 minutes with each one.
“A few students were already enlisted before Senior Day,” Andric says. “Those students provided testimonials as examples of the enlisting process.”
Senior Day covered the benefits, commitments and expectations for each pathway. While military organizations visited with students who would like to enlist, students seeking employment upon high school graduation met with employers in the gymnasium. They rotated through local companies’ hiring managers, human resources personnel and owners to discuss the application process, qualities of great employees, advancement opportunities, compensation and benefits.
“We’re lucky to have so much support from our community,” Andric says. “Our partners and other local organizations are willing to do a lot for us.”
Students wishing to enroll in college met with school counselors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during Senior Day. They also met with representatives from six different colleges and universities to discuss financial aid opportunities and more.
“Our goal for students who want to enroll is to complete at least two college applications before Senior Day ends,” Andric says. “We wanted all students to have the most authentic experience as possible as they explored their options.”
For seniors who have not quite decided on their “E,” the College/Career/Military Fair Barberton hosted at the end of Senior Day provided focused exposure to all possible options.
“The students got a lot out of attending Senior Day,” Andric says. “The event helped make students accountable for their decisions and future plans.” Because administrators were also pleased with the event, Andric adds they will host Senior Day every year.
Building Practical Skills in the Classroom
Some local companies have more than one opportunity to meet with Barberton High School students before they even walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. And guess what? They’re hiring.
Nearly 35 companies participate in a mock interview event for seniors. It is the culmination of their one semester career communications class.
“The mock interview event is pretty powerful, and students take it very seriously,” says Assistant Principal Mike Andric. “Students participate in two mock interviews with representatives from companies that are actually hiring individuals in the community.”
Event organizers try their best to match students with companies looking for employees with their skills and interests so students may also learn more about their options after high school.
“The individuals we invite to conduct mock interviews love this event,” Andric says. “The enjoy meeting the students, and students love learning from someone outside of the high school.”