Union High School students were presented with a unique opportunity to listen to speakers in a special series at the school.
A total of 125 students in all grades took part in the speaker series March 25, which is the second of its kind at the high school.
“I think the most impactful thing is creating hope for our kids so when they finish our K-12 system, they know what they want to do, what they need to do to get there and how they’re going to go get it,” said Justin Tarte, director of curriculum and support services.
This year’s series featured MG Buehrlen, a 1999 Union High School graduate and author of “The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare”; Dan Roth, with Anheuser Busch; Katie Cain, who works for Facebook; Aaron Aubuchon, Webster University; Alan Leah and her canine companion Andi, who works with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) explosive detection; and Mike Mullen, author of the “Ash Fall” series.
The purpose of the speaker series was to “create awareness about possible career choices, help students understand the possible paths they can take to enter a particular career field and to (help) create excitement toward making an impact on the world and finding a career that one is passionate about,” Tarte said.
Prior to getting speakers, students took a survey, where they outlined who they might be interested in hearing and why, as well as some possible questions for that speaker.
“The neatest thing is that the speakers also were motivational in nature,” Tarte said. “They highlighted loving what you do and making sure what you’re doing is something you want to wake up and do every day.”
Tarte said students responded well to the series. Despite that questions on the students’ forms were given to the speakers, the conversations were engaging.
“As the conversations unfolded, the types of questions showed that the students were interested, engaged and wanted to know more,” he said. “It was a great opportunity for our kids to see what types of jobs are out there and what opportunities exist.”
The speakers indicated that they would be interested in speaking another time with another group of students, which Tarte said is “positive.”
Buerhlen appeared via a Google hangout and Katie Cain appeared on Skype. The other individuals visited the school in person.
While the intent was to have speakers appear in person, the two appearing via technology also proved to be educational.
“Learning is no longer limited to the four walls of a classroom, or to a ZIP code,” Tarte said. “It wasn’t necessarily on purpose, but it’s a nice way to showcase not only to students, but to staff how we can leverage technology to tear down the walls of the classroom and bring the world in the classroom.”
Tarte thanked the administration and high school staff for realizing the opportunity in hosting the event, which he said will “definitely” take place again.