Freshman Experience the “Real World”

By: Kailee Smith and Dominique Devivo

During the freshman career unit each year, ninth graders are prepared for the reality of a job interview, practicing skills and developing a portfolio that will help them pursue a career path that best fits their personal strengths and aligns with their interests. Freshman English teacher Mrs. Allen and computer applications teacher Mrs. Whiting recently joined forces with the guidance department to help students visualize what future employers may require of them.. All the assignments prepared and educated each student for the normal job interview requirements they will face in years to come.

“In English class, we tackled multiple facets of developing a career portfolio.” said Mrs. Allen. “We brainstormed and planned out resumes, and we also prepared for possible questions that students would be asked during their mock interview.” In each class, students completed a Pizza Joes application and prepared to answer interview questions.  Clear communication is important in an interview, so English class alone helps and prepares students as much as possible for the oral part of the project.  Mrs. Othites, school counselor, supplemented with instruction on soft skills, helping students plan for and develop resumes that reflected their best qualities and extracurricular involvement.  

Mrs.Whiting’s Computer Applications class further constructed their resumes to use during their mock interview. They put their computer skills to use, formatting their resumes and perfecting their cover letters.Organization was a key factor for the successful interview. “We helped them keep their folders organized so they knew what was coming for them to prepare for the interview.” explained Mrs. Whiting.  Students were required to have a cover letter, their job application, their resume, and their Strengths Explorer assessment results in their portfolio, which they presented to their interviewer.  Dr. McCormick, Mr. Sumner, Mrs. Othites, Ms. Garda, and Mr. Heath comprised the interview panel.

Prior to the interview itself, students expressed their concerns with their strengths and weaknesses.  Ashley Graziani’s preparation helped her., “Confidence helped me. I was so nervous and I kept assuming things, but when I got in there, it was nothing like what I expected.”

Once the interview was finished, there were numerous statements regarding how the entire unit was such an eye-opening and helpful assignment to the students. “It gives you a little look at what it’s like at a job interview for the future,” said Alex Pagley. “Afterwards, the interviewer can tell you what you did wrong so you don’t do it in the real world.” It is not a surprising fact that interviews can be nerve-wracking to individuals, especially young teens, although preparing and practicing for a task like this is a very beneficial activity for students.

Students also expressed what they discovered within themselves, recognizing how hours spent involved in numerous activities will reap benefits in the job world.   “I would say that some benefits of this project was that it really showed me that I have many extracurricular activities I did not acknowledge,” stated student Rocco Avena.