Businesses and organizations opened their inner doors last week to Kenai Central High School juniors participating in the 15th Annual Job Shadow Day. Since its inception the program has offered a unique opportunity for local youth starting to plan their futures to see what career opportunities are available in the local area and to experience what is required for those careers on a daily basis.
Over at Central Emergency Services Nick Rouswell and Thomas Briggs got to actually do some training drills with the first responders, "My dad is a State Trooper and being involved helping my community is something I've always wanted to pursue," Briggs told the Dispatch, "I learned today that being a fire fighter takes a lot of work, training and dedication and that you really have to be in good physical condition to do the job and assist people in need. It's been a great learning experience and today we got to go through the wire trap at the Mackey Lake station and that was a lot of fun," added Briggs. CES Assistant Fire Marshall Brad Nelson welcomes the chance to show young people what his job is all about, "It's a great opportunity to show the public what we really do because there is the common misperception that all we do is sit around watching TV waiting for the next fire, when actually we are continuing our education, training and maintaining equipment on a constant basis," said Nelson.
Christi Loomis is interested in becoming an OBGYN nurse so she signed up to do her shadow at Central Peninsula Hospital where just a few hours earlier a pair of twins had been born and were being cared for. "They are just so adorable, some people think babies look like aliens, but I think they are so cute! I've been able to observe how the nurses care for them and take all their vital signs and how important chemistry and math is to what they do on a daily basis. I've been thinking about this career for a long time and now I'm excited about what I learn in the classroom and how important school is to my life," said Loomis. According to Bonnie Nichols at CPH the hospital hosted 10 job shadow students, "They were spread out from radiology to dietary and throughout the hospital. Over the years we have seen some of these students like Dr. Jerry Hu go on to win scholarships and actually come home to practice in the community and whether they come home or not I believe this experience has an impact on their futures," said Nichols.
"Raising up the youth of today to take over in the future is one of the best things we can do and Maya Johnson who I made temporary mayor for the day is a wonderful example of our youth of today," said Mayor Pat Porter as she introduced Mayor Johnson at the luncheon where she read her official proclamation making Tuesday, February 24th officially Job Shadow Day in the City of Kenai, "I want to go into politics someday and this was a chance to walk in the mayor's shoes and I learned how important it is to go to school and stay here in our local community. Many of my classmates realize the value of taking credits at KPC and staying in Alaska to pursue our professional careers," said Mayor Johnson.
"The efforts of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, Kenai Central High School, Peninsula Job Center, Kenai Rotary and all the community volunteers, are the reason for the programs continued success. From our local business professionals who took time out of their day to spend with the students in their workplace, to the food and venue sponsors, and the coordinators that make it all happen, this occasion would not be possible without their support," said Tina Baldridge, Kenai Chamber of Commerce executive director. At noon the students and their sponsors gathered at Kenai Christian Church for lunch and a few testimonials from former Job Shadow alumni and KCHS grads about what the day meant to their futures.
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