For this year's annual Clintonville Business Leaders Community Breakfast, held Oct. 23, Whetstone High School Principal Janet Routzong wanted to find out how she and her colleagues can better prepare students for the next phase of their lives.

In particular, Routzong said she wanted to ask business owners in the neighborhood what kinds of "soft skills" and what errors in interviews they see in young people today.

Routzong, who instituted the fall breakfast events in 2013 in her second year at the helm of the school, said she hoped to find out if graduates are employing the right amount of eye contact and displaying the proper work ethic when discussing employment.

"We're going to ask the community what they need and we are going to work on that as a school," she added.

Some of those in attendance lauded that endeavor.

"The soft skills of just being able to interact are critical," City Attorney Zach Klein said.

"This is the digital generation that's grown up using texts and social media," said real-estate agent Joe Jackson. "Sometimes I feel there's a lack of ability to have a good one-on-one conversation."

Aside from the practical aspect of the breakfast, Routzong said she sees it as a chance for businesspeople in the community to network and get to know more about the school.

"It's an opportunity for us to connect the school and community every year," she said.

"I think it's a tremendous outpouring of support from the community for a very important cause, which is our schools," said state Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), who has attended all of the Business Leaders Community Breakfasts. "It's a great place to see neighbors and a great place to make connections."

"I just appreciate all the good work the business community does, particularly because it's in my neighborhood," Klein said.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1