School-to-Career program prepares students for real world

St. Marys Area High School continues to offer its students a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between school and career preparation.As part of services offered by the SMAHS Technical Preparation Career Center, students utilize cooperative education through the Co-op School-to-Career program.Recently, both students and employers were recognized for the efforts during the school’s annual School-To-Work banquet.Students in the program work between 20-40 hours per week at local businesses. "This program offers what is not taught in the classroom," said St. Marys Area High School Principal Josh Williams. "We appreciate the way the students represent SMAHS and commend them on their efforts in the workplace."St. Marys Area School District Superintendent Ann Kearney welcomed attendees to the dinner held Tuesday evening at The Red Fern. Michelle Jackson, cooperative education coordinator, provided the introductory remarks. Co-op student Brooke Levenduski led the Pledge of Allegiance, while Pastor Bryon Kleppinger of Weedville Wesleyan Church offered the invocation. SMAHS Assistant Principal Joe Schlimm noted that 240 students participate in the high school's career technical education (CTE) program, which includes such specialties as Business Occupations Marketing and Management (BMM), Building Construction Occupation (BCO), Engineering-Related Technology (ERT), Health-Related Technology (HRT), Diversified Occupations (DO) and Metal Working Occupation (MWO)."We hope to continue to grow our CTE program with students possibly earning college credits from their participation. This is the future of postsecondary education," Schlimm said.Following a slideshow featuring photos of students at their respective jobs, Jackson and Williams presented certificates to students and employers. This year, 45 students, all of whom are seniors enrolled in the Tech Prep curriculum, participated in the program. School-to-Career student participants are: Ben Asti, Jessica Bauer, Wade Bille, Alissa Borrello, Scott Braun, Michael Brennen, Alex Cherry, Rachel Deahl, Amy Donachy, Michele Ehrensberger, Melinda Farabaugh, Evan Galmish, Alex Geitner, Alex Gerber, Brittany Glatt, Seth Hockman, Jason Hoehn, Dillon Hoffman, Josh Johns, Brandon Kleppinger, Karisa King, Samantha Kunes, Ryan Lecker, Brooke Levenduski, Chris Lion, Darren Lyon, Ryan Merritt, James Nussbaum, Audrey Petrini, Breeanna Powell, Jonathan Prechtl, Kacie Pritt, Marissa Proesl, Codey Radaelli, Chris Rettger, Jesse Sarginger, Danielle Schneider, Kyle Schneider, Adam Schwabenbauer, Allison Shields, Bobby Shores, Kara Steis, Michael Swasta and Casidee Uhl. Included in the program are numerous career exploration sites students can visit to gain valuable work experience and prepare to make career decisions. This year. exploration sites covered a wide variety of areas including athletic training, elementary schools, colleges and universities, legal offices/services, forestry, hospitals, powdered metal plants, fabricating, mental health providers, dentists, doctors, machine shops, architects, photography, transportation, energy companies, law enforcement, finance, automotive repair shops, insurance, newspapers and musical instruments.