Program provides hands-on learning

Posted: Wednesday, March 07, 2007


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  Georges follows Ganshow┐s directions while preparing a meal. ┐It┐s a new, different job that I haven┐t seen or experienced on the Kenai Peninsula and I thought it would be kind of interesting,┐ Georges said. Photo by Cadence Turkington

Laura Ganshow, center, instructs Kenai Central High School junior Chyna Conner, right, on how to prepare a meal at The Family Table as Conners classmate Samantha Georges works at left. The two students had the opportunity to experience the workplace during Job Shadow Day last week.

Photo by Cadence Turkington

Editor’s note: The following story was written by a Kenai Central High School junior participating in the school’s annual Job Shadow Day. The program is for students to get an opportunity to go out into the community to see if their dream job is what is they hoped it would be.

Chyna Conner decided she wanted to be something different than the rest of her family — just what remained unclear to the Kenai Central High School junior.

Luckily for her, KCHS has an annual Job Shadow Day program, where all juniors at the school get to research their career of choice and are matched with a business mentor in the community. Students then get to leave school for a half a day to go out into the business world and shadow their mentor as he or she goes about doing his or her jobs.

The hope is that students, like Conner, will learn about what it is like to experience the “real” world of a teacher, a doctor or maybe a chef. It’s a time that most juniors at the school look forward to.

“We have a chance to leave school, go out and learn about different things,” said Conner.

For her, an opportunity to learn about exploring a job different from the exposure she gets from her mom managing lodging businesses, a maintenance worker like her dad, or an electrician like her brother, serves to broaden her experiences. Her opportunity to be a chef came through first-time Job Shadow Day mentor Laura Ganshow, owner of The Family Table.

The Family Table is a business where people can place an order for a dinner if they don’t have enough time on their hands to cook. Ganshow then prepares the ingredients for dinner that families can pick-up or can assemble on their own if they want to pick and choose what they want in the meal. Then all they have to do is stick it in the oven or slow cooker.

So, what made her want to be a mentor?

“It was an opportunity to teach. It’s a small business and not a lot of people know it’s here. I want to have people understand what I do,” Ganshow said.

Also helping out in the kitchen was student Samantha Georges. She didn’t have a clear idea of what she wanted to do either.


Georges follows Ganshows directions while preparing a meal. Its a new, different job that I havent seen or experienced on the Kenai Peninsula and I thought it would be kind of interesting, Georges said.

Photo by Cadence Turkington

Why did she choose to shadow Ganshow?

“I wanted to learn about waitressing, but I decided to go for this and learn more about being a chef,” she said, blowing on her hands to warm them up after helping prepare frozen ingredients for packaging.

Conner added, “I like to do a lot of cooking at home. I like being creative, everybody likes food. It is job security.”

Ganshow showed Georges and Conner how to measure, weigh and prepare the food and also taught them the many details it takes to keep track of a business — all to give them a real taste of what’s like to run one. The program is set up to show all facets of an occupation, including preparing resumes and getting interviews and performance reviews.

So, what were their thoughts about job shadow experience?

“It’s fun and relaxing. We’re actually learning about things we’re not learning in school,” Georges said.

“I still want to look around and see what’s out there,” Conner said.

Which is exactly why KCHS has an annual Job Shadow Day — so students can be better prepared to make life choices.

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