For nearly twenty years the Kenai Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with the faculty of Kenai Central High School (KCHS) to provide an opportunity for juniors to take a day out of the classroom and have a glimpse at what their future career might look like. For some like Dr. Jerry Hu D.D.S. who practices family dentistry in Soldotna and proudly proclaims in his ads "Raised in Alaska-Serving Alaskans!" it was the day he decided dentistry would be his future. For others like Wally Ward it was the day he decided he really wasn't interested in becoming a doctor and pursued an education in chemical engineering and today works on the Peninsula for Marathon Oil Co.
According to Carol Bannock, executive director for the Kenai Chamber, 125 KCHS juniors were matched with local professionals for the day, "I have to give a shout out to Colleen Ward and the work force development committee that started this program 17 years ago and KCHS that has worked this into their curriculum so the students are prepared to ask appropriate questions and get the most out of their experience in the field," said Bannock.
Coltyn Pribbenow and Devon Carter are interested in law enforcement and particularly the Alaska Troopers canine unit, "I've always loved animals and it's been interesting seeing how they work with the Troopers in law enforcement," commented Devon, "It's been really exciting we've had a couple of stops and it's been interesting to see the everyday life of a Trooper," added Coltyn. "This is an excellent opportunity for young men and women to see what law enforcement is all about and to see canine Chevron work and the type of calls we respond to," said Trooper Sims. While Coltyn and Devon shadowed Trooper Sims and Chevron, Ty Hayes donned an HEA hard hat and insulated coveralls and went to work with foreman Tom Clyde and his crew, "Us old guys are going away fast and it's always great to have some younger interests in keeping the lights on when we retire," said Clyde. "It's whole different world out here in the field, I've grown up in Alaska and this is something I might want to pursue," commented Ty. When asked what academics Ty should focus on to make a good lineman in the future Tom Clyde replied, "Math! Then more math, and some more math."
Over at Buckets in Soldotna Johnny Trux and Torri-Jan Harsha had expressed an interest in the restaurant business and owner Pauline Munson was willing to take them under her wing. "We let them make their own breakfast to start with then showed them how the business has evolved from paper to the computer age," explained Munson. "It's a lot different than I had imagined. I've been interested since I was a little girl and recently volunteering at the high school really sparked my interest about what goes into management of the whole operation," said Torri. "I love to cook and hope to be a chef some day," added Johnny. Both plan to further their education in food service management and the culinary arts.
After their day in the field all the Job Shadow students were hosted to a lunch at the Challenger Learning Center compliments of Arby's, Paradisos, Kenai Catering, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola. Students heard from Mayor Pat Porter, Job Shadow and KCHS Alumni, Wally Ward, and Krista Timlin who shared some of their life experiences since their out-of-classroom experience. Students also heard about opportunities to continue their Job Shadow experience this summer at Business Week to be held at University Alaska Fairbanks. "Any high school student finishing 9th grade through 12th grade can attend Business Week. It's both for students who know what they want to do in life and for those who are not yet sure, students that want to learn more about business or gain leadership skills, learn about themselves or just have fun with their fellow Alaskans while earning two college credits," explained Ann Ringstad, UAF director. To find out more about Business Week and scholarship opportunities log on to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce website www.alaskachamber.com and for more information on participating in next year's Kenai Chamber Job Shadow program call Carol Bannock at 283-7989.
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