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Learning real-life lessons

April 2024

“This experience gave students the practical skills to apply and interview for a job,” said Ashlyn Birks, 6-12 counselor at CR-B.


Over the past two months, students in senior English IV have been completing a unit to better prepare them for life after high school. Students in this course will be graduating in May so Mr. Jordan Kenkel, high school English teacher, designed a unit for them to explore potential careers and gain real-world experience for when it comes time to getting a job. Students completed a resume and cover letter tailored to a real employer. Students then sent their resume and cover letter to an employer and participated in a mock interview experience.


Ashlyn Birks helped students revise their resume and cover letter and had many conversations with students to help them reflect on their mock interview experiences.


“The mock interview experience was extremely successful,” Birks said. “It is one of the most useful experiences our students can have.”


Senior Bella Green interviewed at POET Bioprocessing in Coon Rapids with administrative coordinator Emily Bruch and Patrick Lappe, general manager. Her mock interview was focused on obtaining a secretarial position. 


“I had to make sure to represent myself in a positive manner,” Green said. “I accomplished that by just being myself.”


Toby Benninger interviewed with Jackie Van Ahn who has served as a senior vice president of human resources for a company who served over 2,800 employees.


“I like how we were put in a real-world situation where we had to use more than a textbook,” Benninger said.


“For my mock interview, I went to Drees Co. in Carroll for an HVAC position,” said Cade Behrens, a senior who was actually offered a position by Brett Sanford, the service manager at Drees. 


“This helped me improve my interviewing skills so I can be extra prepared for an actual HVAC interview in the future.”


When asked to comment on her thoughts regarding this unit, Amanda Miller, 6-12 principal, discussed how integral this experience is in sending CR-B students out into the world as future adults.


Other occupations explored were musical theater, cosmetology, real estate, and more. Kenkel hopes he can expand this unit into other senior classes in the future.

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