After high school, Deighton Castle wants to study photography and video production. Dakota Pfeiffer wants to pursue graphic design. And they both know that to be accepted into a program that teaches them the skills they’ll need, or land an internship or job in their field, they’ll have to stand out among other applicants.
And with the help of Mission city councilmember Debbie Kring, they feel like they’re getting a leg up on their post high-school plans.
Once a month, Kring volunteers her time to help students in a Horizons High School program that gives class credit for working and learning job search skills tighten up their resumes.
“Basically, I’m just trying to get them to market themselves a little better,” Kring said. “Instead of ‘worked the register,’ they can talk about how they interact with customers.”
The program is one of the ways Horizons, Shawnee Mission’s alternative education program, looks to provide its students with training they can apply to the real world. Pfeiffer, 16, works at a Noodles & Company restaurant, and said her experience in the jobs-for-high-school-credit program has helped her “get a little more professional.”
“Whatever you do after high school, they want people who know how to present themselves,” she said. “This class has taught me how to push myself a little bit in uncomfortable situations. I think it’s a good thing to do in high school.”
Kring said she’s been excited to see some of the students gain confidence and experience. After recently retiring from a 30 year career with the Environmental Protection Agency, Kring was looking for opportunities to contribute in the area. She said the chance to work with Horizons students was rewarding.
“I see these kids with a lot of potential,” she said. “And unfortunately I think some of them think they don’t when they start out.”