Eighth-grade students at Ste. Genevieve Middle School had the opportunity to meet and engage with area business representatives and local universities as part of their annual Career Week from October 21 to October 24.

The week offered a different type of learning for students each day.

“This year, we branched away a bit from a steady career focus to make room for incorporating the needs of our students here in our community,” counselor Ed Draper said. “Not only do we want to bring in universities, but we also want businesses, technical programs and information that our students really need now to be able to prepare for their futures.”

This included a “students teaching students” aspect this year, where two Ste. Genevieve High School (SGHS) student mentors, Nolan Klump and Emily Skaggs, presented a session about what it’s like to have a job as a high school student and balancing the responsibilities of school and work. Klump, who worked as a summer lifeguard, focused on how he prioritizes his spending; and Skaggs, who works as a waitress at the Anvil, talked about how having extra money as a high school student can be helpful financially.

“This new session was a success this year,” Draper said. “Any time that we can find someone on their level as a student, who has recently been where they’ve been and understands their mindsets — that is a win.”

The progression of the activities throughout the week included:

Monday: Shadow Day — Students heard from five presenters who covered a broad spectrum of career choices: Courtland Hampton from the Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, SGHS business teacher Denise Bader, SGHS auto mechanics teacher Ethan Jokerst, SGHS agriculture teacher Hannah Fritsche-Donze, and SGHS engineering teacher Kenneth Rapp.

Tuesday: Career Day — Students rotated through five presentations from area representatives: Dairy Queen restaurant manager Andrea Stolzer, funeral director Eric Basler, EMT Dawn Sevier, Christopher Daniel of Mississippi Lime, aerospace engineer Amy Helvy, school resource officer Christy Clark, geologist Martin Donze, video producer/entrepreneur Tyson Schaffner, Tonya Lyons with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation officer Rob Sulkowski and SGHS student mentors Nolan Klump and Emily Skaggs.

Wednesday: What It Takes Day — Students visited the following presenters on the topic of what it takes to be the best version of themselves. This also included presentations from three local universities where students could learn about which classes they should consider taking in high school that will be beneficial for what they decide to do in life. Presenters were: Southeast Missouri State University representative Lacy Giudicy, Mineral Area College representative Sami Meyer, St. Louis University representative Dr. Arline Cravens, Ste. Genevieve R-II School District assistant superintendent Dr. Paul Taylor, Ste. Genevieve High School assistant principal and A-Plus coordinator Dr. John Boyd Jr.

Thursday: Perryville CTC Day — To cap off the week, students took a field trip to the Perryville Area Career and Technology Center to learn about the various hands-on learning opportunities the center has to offer, some of which include: digital media and broadcast, auto mechanics, and welding.

“We would like to thank all of the individuals from businesses and local universities for taking the time to visit our school and talk to our students about the possibilities for their futures,” Draper said. “We would also like to thank our faculty and staff at the middle school and high school who had a hand in helping to make this week a success for our eighth-graders as they explored career opportunities and learned about the many possible ways to achieve success. Thank you for your flexibility, volunteerism and commitment to our students. We appreciate your willingness to drop what you are doing and help.”

(Information in a release from the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District.)