We wanted students to begin to understand their role in the workplace, who they are and what their skills are, and how those skills might be of value to society, to think about ‘How might I live out our mission to transform the world for Jesus Christ?’
Four years ago, when HCHS launched its Winterim program, the week-long alternative learning opportunity the first week of the second semester, we threw all our freshmen into a freshman class together. Well, two classes actually, a morning and afternoon session. The intention of the “Freshman Seminar” was to give them an opportunity to think through who they were as children of God, to formulate an understanding of their growing faith in Him, and its impact on both their current and future lives. A clear spiritual focus.
This year we started an all-sophomore Winterim class, as an extension of that. With a clear career focus, and an underlying spiritual focus.
“We wanted students to begin to understand their role in the workplace, who they are and what their skills are, and how those skills might be of value to society, to think about ‘How might I live out our mission to transform the world for Jesus Christ?’” said HCHS Assistant Principal Aaron Meckes, one of our two Winterim organizers.
We utilized our amazing Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s (OAISD’s) future PREP’d Academy and Tech Center programs to organize and teach the class, in the company of HCHS Bible teachers Keith Blystra ’00 and Devon Scott ’09. The first day included some classroom teaching, on how to look and act and in general be professional (before heading out with over 150 sophomores throughout corporate West Michigan!), as well as a career inventory/personality test of sorts, and getting students to begin to think which general pathway of a career they may be interested in. On Tuesday, students visited local businesses like Tiara Yachts, Holland Hospital, or other local industries like Steelcase to “see corporate America,” according to instructor David Ladd, and learn more about the local world of work—not just from the labor perspective, but an overall corporate view as well. Plus meet with a whole variety of local colleges and programs offering the way to get there.
“We were helping the students see the steps that would go into whatever career they chose, from 4-year or 6-year degree on up to 8 years, or a 2-year technical school,” said David Ladd, Career Development Facilitator for the OAISD’s future PREP’d Academy. “They got to see their pathway, what their career would look like once they got there. And they got to see it in a local setting that is globally competitive.”