When my children were little, we frequently would go on what we called “adventure walks,” and we would start each one with this mantra, “Let’s see what we can see.”
We would find flowers to smell, a cat on the window sill of a neighbor’s house who was watching us watching it, classic cars to ooh and aah over, and we never took the same way home.
Although I was having great fun seeing the world through my children’s eyes and thoroughly enjoying my time with them, I hope I was also creating in them a spirit of adventure, exploration and a willingness to see beyond the ordinary; taking nothing for granted.
I find that this spirit of adventure walking serves us well if we carry it into other areas of our lives.
And one great place to be on a constant adventure walk is in high school. Try a new club. Meet people who are different than you. Stretch yourself with an academic challenge. Explore possible futures for yourself. Ask: “What would my adult life be like if I (fill in the blank)?”
It is much better to explore possible career paths when the cost and consequences are little to nonexistent as compared to the cost of a year or two of college to “find myself.”
One way the Tolles Career & Technical Center serves the Dublin and Hilliard school districts is to provide career exploration in a variety of ways.
Middle school students visit the Career Campus to see career options in an exploratory form. In small groups, led by a student ambassador from Tolles, each student can view state of the art labs, check out academic classroom options and even play leadership games with our Career Technical Student Organization officers. “What would my adult life be like if I (fill in the blank?)”
Students are welcomed back to our Career Campus as sophomores, when they get a more in-depth look at programs of interest. Students select two programs and spend approximately 30 minutes immersed in that lab – experiential learning.
Most career labs facilitate stations where students are exposed to a variety of activities in the field. This gives students a view of the daily life not only in the classroom but also in that particular career.
And new this year, Hilliard freshmen, along with interested freshmen from our other schools, will participate in a tour to see 21 career-technical programs inside 12 career pathways. These will include such in-demand fields as engineering, information technology, outdoor careers, construction trades and health professions.
In the past, our Career Campus served primarily 11th- and 12th-grade students. Next year, in response to the needs of our associate schools, we will serve 10th- to 12th-grade students.
This is our tour schedule for high school students:
• All HillIard freshmen, Nov. 22
• All Hilliard sophomores, Nov. 25
• All Dublin sophomores, Nov. 26
• All Madison County/Fairbanks sophomores, Dec. 3
As prospective students explore our Career Campus, Tolles students are doing some exploring of their own. They have four days embedded into their school year to select from a variety of experiences that will help guide them in their own decision-making about the question, “What will my adult life be like if I (fill in the blank)?”
They can choose from college visits, military visits, job-shadowing experiences, job placement, interviewing for employment, touring businesses and industries (large and small), engaging in community service and building such digital skills as designing infographics or evaluating the credibility of online sources.
Maybe mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, business and industry, and interested community members would like to engage in a little adventure walking of their own.
If that’s the case, we invite you to our Launch Night/Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5. It’s your time to stroll through our labs, engage with our academic instructors, find out about us and see who we are. Everyone is welcome.
Let’s encourage a spirit of exploration in our school experience. We are proud to partner with the Dublin and Hilliard districts and their students in their adventure walks.
Emmy Beeson is superintendent of Tolles Career & Technical Center, which includes students from the Dublin and Hilliard school districts. Contact her at ebeeson@ tollestech.com.