2008-11-13 / News

New career counseling center to open at high school

By Eileen M. Daly

Searching for colleges or making post secondary career plans can be daunting for some young adults, but North Kingstown High School students will soon have a new resource designed to make the process a little easier.

NK is opening a College and Career center next Wednesday that will feature college and post high school career options.

The career center is a joint venture of the North Kingstown High School Guidance Department and LINKS (the non-profit school volunteer organization.)

LINKS Director, Martha Pughe, took over the planning of the career center following the departure of the previous director, Karen vanVierssen. "We've really been working on this project in earnest since February of last year," Pughe said. "The guidance department here at the high school has been very supportive, and they've been working with us every step of the way."

According to Pughe, the center is comprised of several layers. "We wanted to make sure that every single student that attends the high school would be able to make use of the career center," Pughe said. In order to accomplish that goal, the center is designed to meet the needs of students interested in apprenticeships, trade schools, two-year colleges and four-year colleges. In addition, Pughe said the center would also accommodate students with disabilities and those who might need special accommodations at colleges or other institutions.

"We have a number of colleges scheduled to come in and talk with the students here. We also have volunteers who are attending these sessions and taking detailed notes for those students who cannot attend a session for one reason or another," Pughe said.

"Another aspect of the career center involves our career clusters. We have four career clusters. They are: Business and Administration, Health Sciences, Engineering and Technology and Law Enforcement," Pughe said. According to Pughe, each career cluster will last for two months. The current career cluster is the Business and Administration cluster. Three separate speakers are scheduled to come in and speak with students regarding various careers in business and administration. "We have an interior designer who owns her own business, a man who attended trade school and went on to open his own business and a teacher who now owns a publishing company," Pughe said. "We really wanted to make sure that we had a fair representation of the different paths individuals can take to own their own businesses."

Two parent volunteer coordinators, Deedee Chatham and Kathleen Perreault, assist Pughe. "They have really put in countless hours to make this work," Pughe said. Pughe, Chatham, and Perreault work in conjunction with a total of 30 volunteers who assist in the career center. "We've really had a lot of help putting this together and everyone has worked very hard," Pughe said.

All of the center volunteers have participated in rigorous training, Pughe said. "We've all been trained by the Way to Go RI Program and we've worked very closely with the guidance department here at the high school to make sure that the students are receiving consistent, quality information," Pughe said. The Way to Go RI Program has a website that parents and students can visit at www.waytogori.org. This website offers an abundance of information about career development, including aptitude tests and other preparatory information, Pughe said. "Our volunteers have all been trained and can help students to navigate the information on the Way to Go RI website. We can also guide students through the college application process and help them put together their resumes," Pughe said. She was, however, careful to point out, "We do not fill out applications or write resumes for students, but we are happy to help them through the process."

North Kingstown High School Principal Gerald Foley is thrilled to see the Career Center come to the high school. "This is a great idea whose time has come," Foley said. "In this economy and with all the different choices available to students, they need all the support and guidance we can possibly provide. I am really happy to see this level of parental involvement," he said.

The grand opening of the North Kingstown High School Career Center is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Parents, students, and the public are invited to attend the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Career Center will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. The center will also be open one evening per week, but the specific evening has yet to be determined.

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