By Tim Leeds
Students at Havre High School spent Wednesday afternoon attending workshops to tell them about careers they are interested in.
The Career Exploration Workshops began at 1:25 p.m., with a second session running from 2:15 to 3 p.m.
The program used 36 rooms at the high school, with 41 presenters giving the 45-minutes workshops. Some of the workshops were repeated at the second session, others were only given once, with a different workshop given at 2:15 p.m. The careers presented varied from judge and highway patrol to farmer, day care provider and doctor, from music, massage and art to careers in computers, contracting and construction, from teaching and banking to the FBI, engineering and forestry.
The students had to sign up for workshops ahead of time, and all of the students were required to attend them.
Senior Shawn Solomon attended workshops on landscape design and architectural computer assisted design.
"I thought they were very good," he said. "It helped the students to learn a little bit about what they are going to do and what to expect. We just talked to the people; they told us about what we need to do to prepare for it, what to expect for education for it."
Senior Stacey Siebrasse, who said she plans to go into physical therapy in college, attended the massage therapy and physical therapy workshops.
"I thought this whole thing was really well organized, a big improvement in the mentor program at the high school," she said.
After finishing the workshops, the students returned to their mentor groups to discuss the workshops.
The workshops were sponsored by HISTA (Havre Improves Schools Through Accreditation). Debbie Kirby, HISTA committee member, said they gave the students a survey last October to find out what careers they would be interested in, then narrowed it down to the most popular to fit into one afternoon.
"It really wasn't us deciding what to present, it was the students," Havre High STC (School-to-Career) Coordinator LaCrissa St. Pierre said.
Kirby said senior Lindsey Brandt co-chaired the workshop process, finding half of the presenters and doing half of the year-long work to set it all up.
The mentor programs were established by HISTA two years ago. HISTA is the Havre group of MISTA (Montana Improves Schools Through Education), the organization set up to work on ensuring Montana schools receive accreditation through the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Kirby said after surveying the community three years ago, HISTA decided assigning mentors to groups of students to counsel them throughout their high school career was the best option. She said the workshops were basically an extension of this career mentoring.
Kirby said the students will evaluate the workshops and that will help with decisions about whether to do the program again in the future. She said that will ultimately be up to the HISTA committee.
The next project in the program will be a health care profession career fair in the high school library on Feb. 14. St. Pierre said Kathy Newell from Northern Montana Hospital has been instrumental on getting that fair arranged, and also arranged most of the health care presenters at yesterday's workshops. She said arranging something with Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad is also a future possibility.
The workshops yesterday paralleled Havre High's use of STC programs such as job shadowing and credit-for-work, placing students directly into work environments. Kirby said she really liked that parallel.
Vice Principal Howard Hahn said it is becoming a requirement to have career exploration an integral part of all curriculum at the high schools. He said teachers have generally talked to their students in the past about how the information they are learning will apply to the workplace, but now they are trying to formalize that into all curriculum at the high school.