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High School Students to Spend Time in Working World

Wilmington High School is preparing for its Job Shadow Day, giving students the chance to decide what they may want to do after graduation.

Wilmington High School students will be put to work at the beginning of February. And if past experience is any indication, they’ll likely enjoy every minute of it.

The school is continuing the recently stepped up efforts to grow its Job Shadow Day, which featured more than 100 participants last year. On Monday, February 4, principal Eric Tracy hopes that more than 120 of his students will get a first hand look at what goes on in the real world.

“They get that real life experience to say that the field they shadow is something they really want to do, or really don’t want to do,” said Tracy. “That’s a really good thing to realize before you start applying to a college. Kids take it very seriously. It’s a day out of school, but really the learning that takes place is the reality of what’s going to happen after graduation.”

Tracy said the program has been done on a much smaller level for about a decade now, but the district really ramped up its efforts in the last four years or so.

Current juniors are the target group for the day’s activities, and each student generally receives a one-on-one career experience with members of the business community in Wilmington and beyond.

Two years ago, a Wilmington student was paired up with an employee at a local hospital. She shadowed as her mentor took part in surgical procedures and worked with elderly patients.

Sadly, while the student was at the hospital, one of the patients passed away. But Tracy said the experience that day helped that student realize that was the field she wanted to go into.

“She wanted to take care of the person, help the family, know what the process was. She really got to say ‘This is definitely what I want to do,'” said Tracy. “Even though my teachers work very hard to give kids all the tools to be successful, I can’t give them that experience in the classroom.”

According to Tracy, the day has typically been a success for all involved, even the students who leave Job Shadow Day saying that what they saw that day is something they have no interest in ever doing.

“There’s no better way for someone to get a good handle on their future than being able to experience it first hand,” said Tracy.

If you are interested in hosting a student on Job Shadow Day, visit Tracy’s blog for more details on how you can participate.

The only regret Tracy has about the program is the fact that he didn’t have an opportunity to participate in one when he was in high school. 

“I went to college and, much to my parents dismay, changed my major during my senior year,” said Tracy. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid by expanding programs at the high school and giving them opportunities like these kind of things.”

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