By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
GOAL Academy, Bradley County Schools' alternative school, has again hosted an event to help students find success in their future careers. The school recently hosted its fall Student Interview …
GOAL Academy, Bradley County Schools' alternative school, has again hosted an event to help students find success in their future careers.
The school recently hosted its fall Student Interview Day, an event full of opportunities for students to learn about preparing for and taking part in job interviews.
"We think it was successful," said Gary Peltier, the school's business and work-based learning teacher. "Our entire staff buys into it. We were grateful to have several volunteers from the community."
Students participated in several mini workshops which touched on various things they can do to put their best feet forward when applying for jobs. The activities included one where students had to take images of various clothing pieces and put together interview-appropriate outfits.
The volunteers led the students in mock job interviews and provided helpful feedback afterward. This allowed the students to make sure they could express themselves effectively.
Some of the students had never had the opportunity to interview for a job before, while others have already interviewed for jobs in the community.
Student Taylor Holliday said she was "very anxious" the first time she interviewed for a job, but she learned skills at the event which will help her feel "a lot more confident" in the future.
"I feel all students should get the chance to do something like this," added student Alex Rodriguez. "Not everybody is as prepared for an interview as they think they are."
Student Chris Folsom echoed those remarks, saying the day also helped him feel more prepared for opportunities to come.
GOAL Academy is a school with two different student populations: those who have struggled because of their behavior and those who have fallen behind in school for various reasons — some of which have been beyond the students' control.
Students in the second group have the option to earn high school diplomas from GOAL. Peltier said the school's faculty work hard to ensure these students learn the skills they need to successfully enter the workforce after graduation.
"The feedback from our interviewers was great," Peltier said. "I think they were somewhat surprised at the quality of our students. ... Really, our students are no different than other students; some of them just got a late start in getting to the place where they are taking school seriously."
Folsom said he appreciates how the school's faculty and staff and the local volunteer partners "really seem to care" about the students.
Partners for Student Interview Day included representatives of Southern Heritage Bank, Cleveland Insurance, 3H Group Hotels, The Caring Place, Westwood Baptist Church, Whirlpool, Publix, Junior Achievement, Gilbert's Collision, Cleveland State Community College, Lee University and several more.
Guidance counselor Rhonda Parris said many GOAL Academy students have gone on to find good jobs after graduation, thanks in part to community partnerships like these.
"We could not have as many positive outcomes as we have without our partners," said Parris.
Later this school year, GOAL Academy also plans to partner with local businesses and organizations to take students on "job shadowing trips."
These are expected to include Gilbert's Collision, Santek, Cormetech, Home Depot, the Cleveland Police Department and the Cleveland Fire Department.
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