Students explore careers at middle school
Warm Springs Middle School sixth graders explored different careers in their LINKS classes on Tuesday, March 15.
The once-a-month 90-minute LINKS program pairs students in small groups with related arts teachers who have similar interests.
Each class also researched career questions regarding job responsibilities, needed education and training, hours generally worked,salaries and the future job outlook for that field.
Students paired with family and consumer science teacher Tracy Bostic and Spanish teacher Paula Masters had hands-on activities in interior design, fashion design, child care and food preparation.
Kids chose color schemes for decorating their bedrooms and put together colorful outfits with fabric scraps. They also changed diapers on the “Baby Think it Over” doll and made Gorp trail mix. Some tried the “Drive of Your Life” career exploration video game.
Students in technology education teacher Darrell Bennett’s LINKS class researched different types of manufacturing construction jobs and related occupations as well as careers that interested them.
Student Austin Buck said he was surprised to learn that plow drivers were in the lowest 10% of earnings at less than $12.47 an hour. The highest earnings in the construction field were around $33.34 an hour.
Bennett said his class
dealt with rocketry, fluids, power, electricity, anima-
tion, CAD design and automation and was like a LINKS class.
Health teacher Jessica Spring’s students researched health and nursing careers or other fields of interest and created a brochure on computer. Careers investigated included being a social worker, veterinarian, marine biologist, forensic pathologist and criminologist.
Art teacher Rachel Brown’s students did a web quest on different careers. They also explored being make-up artists, drawing cartoons, doing advertising, building bridges, designing graphics, creating animation and making videos.
Substitute teacher Allan Keenan’s computer applications class watched a video on future technology and how it would apply to their lives now as opposed to 40 years ago.
People 40 years ago would’ve said one was crazy to think someone could carry a phone in their hand everywhere they went, he said.
Band director Lee Cheek did a friendship buddy bingo instead with his LINKS students that promoted the qualities of positive friendship like active listening, respecting feelings, supportive when upset, truthful, encouraging and dependable.
Kids have to examine their friendships and know when to cut the ties if their friends’ idea of fun is something like getting high, Cheek said.
Physical education teacher Dale McCumbee’s and Coach Chris Davisson’s students heard about different athletics careers and chose what interested them the most.
Choices included health and fitness, sports writing or broadcasting, professional sports, physical therapy, recreation, athletic director, coaching or emergency medical services.
McCumbee told teens they would change their mind a lot about their
future at this age and encouraged them to choose their passion as a career. He urged them to have other options in case their choice didn’t work out.
Alternative education teacher Antony McKee introduced students to the College Foundation of West Virginia website where they could do an interest survey.
The site matches students’ interests to multiple career choices. Students can browse career clusters, compare careers side by side and create a lifelong portfolio and resume.
McKee thought that LINKS was a great program for teens. They learn what they like and don’t like and what their interests are, he said. Kids can start planning for high school and signing up for the right courses.
Besides career exploration, LINKS lessons have also included team building, bullying prevention, goal setting, time management
and study skills. The school will offer the program to sixth and seventh grades next year and extend it the following year to eighth grade students, Bostic said.
Students said they enjoy the LINKS program.
“It’s great,” Levi Swaim.
“I thought it was fun,” said Christian Sapp.
“I really like it. It works. If you show good respect and work hard, you’ll get what you want,” Daniel Schaeffer said.
Berkeley Springs High School senior Alex Lake wished he had learned what kids were learning through LINKS classes when he was younger. Lake said he’s building his first portfolio now. LINKS students are learning how to do that now.