By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
With a multitude of career options after high school, teachers are looking for ways to connect students with different opportunities during and after high school.
Several students at Caledonia High School have been learning about a few different topics to prepare them for life after high school, such as benefits of a two-year school or trade industry, investing early and saving money to eventually buy a home.
Social studies teacher Robbie Sobczak said the class is going well so far. The class includes Trent King, Alex Hoscheit, Isiah Reinhart, Owen Blocker and Jacob Rogich.
“These guys are a quiet bunch, but I can see the gears spinning when they are given advice on how to prepare themselves for life after high school,” he said. “I cannot speak for them, but I do believe they are beginning to feel more prepared for life after school because of the things we have been going over in class.”
The topics are student-centered, stemming from questions the five students asked Sobczak on day one. From this, he brought in speakers to talk about financing a house, the trade industry and going into the workforce after high school.
Since the chance of switching to a hybrid model was increasing, Sobczak brought in as many speakers as he could, including an admissions representative from Northeastern Iowa Community College (NICC) and a financial advisor from Northwestern Mutual.
Then the class toured and talked with three businesses and business people in town, including Harly and Joanne Meiners and Eric Halverson of Edward Jones. The Meiners talked about what to look for in renting a first apartment, while Halverson talked further about preparing finances, investing early and how to save money for a house.
“...My students were starting to understand things more, so they began asking questions that deepened their understanding, which I think will benefit them ten-fold as they prepare themselves financially after the graduate,” he said.
Later the same day, the class also visited Workforce Development, where they learned the center can be a resource for them in the future if they need a go-between job to help them get to the next step in their careers.
Next, students will start working on resumes with two representatiaves from Southeast Service Cooperative. They will also have a chance to do a mock interview.
In addition to the businesses giving students an insight on preparing for life after high school, they’ve already gained valuable work experience with current jobs at Meyer Concrete, Hoscheit Dairy Farm, Koch Dairy Farm, Becker and Stemper Electric and Shroeder Landscaping and Construction.
The class meets every other week, and on the weeks they don’t meet, Sobczak is able to visit the students at their workplace. His student, Alex Hoscheit, showed him around Hoscheit Dairy Farm and explained how much work went into keeping the farm going.
“It did not take me long to realize that these kids work extremely hard and will be very successful when they are older,” Sobczak said. He’s also noticed the same work ethic in his other students as well.
“Teaching in Caledonia is a breeze because rarely are there students who complain, and when given work, they get down to it and give their best,” he added.
Sobczak is looking forward to more students partaking in the class in the future, and more businesses and community involvement.