Spencer County Aspire brings experience to the table

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By Don Steen ~ Staff Writer • reporter@psci.net

Both school corporations came together February 8 to launch Aspire Spencer County, a career program aimed at acquainting local sophomores with the professionals in their community. The boys from both high schools met at Heritage Hills to talk with male representatives, while the girls mustered at South Spencer High School. More than 100 professionals turned out to lend a hand between the two schools, speaking with about 280 sophomores.

The program can be broadly likened to speed dating, with participants sharing a table for about 10 minutes for a quick question-and-answer session before moving on. The obvious difference being that the topics at hand centered on career-oriented topics.

Some questions kids were encouraged to ask include “what was your first job?” or “what do you do on a daily basis?” However, other suggested prompts focused on the lifestyle that comes with a person’s job. Much like with dating, it makes sense to figure out if a job is compatible with one’s personality.

At South Spencer the event started with everyone gathering in circles and were told to step forward if a description applied to them. Several take-aways resulted, including the fact it’s okay to change your mind, okay to fail or not know what path to take. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will and (quite telling) almost everyone wants to sleep in.

The keynote speaker at SSHS was the inimitable Pat Koch, whose story was guaranteed to inspire.

Meanwhile up north, Heritage Hills Career and Education Coordinator Todd Wilkerson pointed out that even if kids don’t find a potential career path among the 24 tables, it will at least give them valuable experience talking with professional adults and learning how to navigate conversation in those environments. In any economy, networking and connections can make all the difference on a job hunt.

“It’s nice to know people,” said Wilkerson.

The featured speaker at Heritage Hills was Judge Jon Dartt, who had been among the professionals visiting the school for the occasion. He emphasized that life will be starting to pick up speed for the sophomores in the coming years, and both HHHS and SSHS alumni will be working together eventually.

“Right now you’re rivals,” he said. “But soon you all are going to be united in the workforce for Spencer County, to make our community better.”

Read more on this story in this week’s issue of the Spencer County Leader!

Male students from both Heritage Hills and South Spencer met in the HHHS gym for the ASPIRE program to speak with dozens of local professionals for a Q & A session

Female students from both schools met at South Spencer’s gym to speak with local professionals