By Tim Leeds
Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, was an official nationwide job shadowing day, and Havre High School School-to-Career Coordinator LaCrissa St. Pierre is arranging job shadows for students this month in honor of the day.
Samantha Velk shadowed with Stacy Fanning at the Havre Daily News yesterday to learn about graphic design. Emi English was shadowing at R & R Studios in photography this morning, and Kristy Colling was at Bear Paw Veterinary Clinic, her second time at the clinic.
St. Pierre said she will be arranging about 20 more shadows today, 10 from the high school and 10 eighth-graders from the Havre Middle School.
Velk said yesterday she plans to go into graphic design and will probably major in the field at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. She said she has taken classes at the high school in computer assisted design and works on the yearbook, but the shadowing was showing her a lot of valuable information. She worked with Fanning from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
St. Pierre said she tries to get the students who apply lined up for a job shadow within a week of their applying. She said sometimes the actual job shadow has to be delayed, such as when someone applies for a shadow on a job that can only take place in the spring or summer, but she at least tries to schedule it quickly.
The purpose of job shadowing through the Havre Public Schools is to give the students information and some actual experience in a field they are interested in. Students apply for the program, then the coordinator finds a professional for the student to work with.
Once on the shadow, the student has a questionnaire used to ask the professional some standardized questions, such as what education is necessary, starting income and so on. There is also an evaluation the student fills out after the shadow, with questions such as what the student liked most and liked least about the shadow and if he is still interested in the career.
The student then sends a thank you card to the professional, who is then sent an evaluation form for the shadow as well.
St. Pierre said the business community has been very supportive of the program. Businesses and organizations such as Bear Paw Veterinary, Elite Tanning Salon, Triangle Telephone and the Havre Fire Department have been involved, many with repeat shadows. St. Pierre said the program keeps expanding, with more shadows in the works in Great Falls. One student looking into shadowing an architect there.
Havre High student Gary Osborne got a job in Great Falls last winter after he shadowed at KFFB and KRTV television stations in Great Falls. KRTV called him back fairly quickly after the shadow took place to offer him a job.
Havre High student Thea Maristuen's shadow took her even farther. She ended up shadowing exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Holly Reid of Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Wash., through the program, first by phone then in person when her family traveled through the area.