Students Weigh their Options

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By , June 26, 2013
Paige Karcynski leads a tour of Grade 9 students from schools in the Fort St. John and Fort Nelson area around the new simulated well site training facility and drilling rig at Northern Lights College in Fort St. John during dual credit day. - photo by Gavin Crites

Paige Karcynski leads a tour of Grade 9 students from schools in the Fort St. John and Fort Nelson area around the new simulated well site training facility and drilling rig at Northern Lights College in Fort St. John during dual credit day. – photo by Gavin Crites

Students from around the area got a glimpse into their potential futures yesterday. Close to 200 Grade 9 students participated in tours and information sessions at the Northern Lights College’s Fort St. John campus, taking a look at trades and academic courses offered at the school as part of a dual credit program which allows students to earn high school and post-secondary credits simultaneously and enter the job market faster.
The tours were important to show students what kind of options they have for the future, said Paige Karczynski, workforce-training coordinator at the college.
“It gives them a hands-on point of view of what they’d be doing,” she said. “Many of them probably have parents who do this kind of work and hear the stories, but it helps them with the aspect of being there and seeing it and it peaks their interest a little bit. They’re still only in Grade 9, but at least it gives them options to get their courses lined up correctly.”
Reese Cowie of Bert Bowes Middle School attended a psychology and social work class, subjects she’d like to study in the future.
“It helps us decide what course we’re going to choose for our high school years and what we want to pursue later in life,” she said, adding the dual credit program is something she’ll definitely consider on her way to being a psychologist.
“I thought social work would be a little more interesting, but with psychology, I’m definitely going to try my hardest to do it,” Cowie said. “In my psychology class, (the instructor) demonstrated a few different memory tests and how we think when we’re trying to remember things. She would say a long list of digits then wait for a second then we would write it all out and nobody got it. It’s so cool to see what you remember.”
The tour of the drilling rig somewhat cemented Dr. Kearney Middle School Grade 9 student Wesley Babkirk’s plans as well.
“I liked learning and seeing what it’s like being on there,” Babkirk said, adding he can see himself working in that environment in the future.
“But then I want to further my education and be a millwright,” he added.
Asked if he felt he was in the right tour today, he responded, “Yea, I think I was. I think this is what I’ll definitely being doing here.”
Grade 9 student Jaedon Braun of Bert Bowes Middle School signed up to see the English and teaching courses.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “We did a little bit of analyzing media and such. The teaching class seemed pretty interesting. I think I might want to be a teacher.”
He said the dual credit program is a good idea and something he’ll pursue once he gets to Grade 11 and Grade 12.
The program is something Karczynski, who led the students around the simulated well site training facility and drilling rig, said she wished was an option in schools where she grew up.
“This is something they didn’t offer in southern Ontario, but I wish they would have because this is an awesome opportunity,” she said.
Jeff Mayer works out of North Peace Secondary School as a work experience teacher for the school district’s careers program. He talked about the benefits of getting an early start on a career path, like completing apprentice hours while still in school and reaping the financial rewards of accredited workplace experience at an early age.
“This stuff sells itself,” Mayer said. “It just provides opportunities for kids.”
Mayer added there are also academic benefits to students seeing the applicability of what they’re learning.
“It’s quite amazing to see what happens,” he said. “Once the students see the relevance of what they’re doing and they see the light at the end of the tunnel and the goal, that’s half the battle. You see that work ethic just ratchet right up.”

~ GAVEN CRITES, Alaska Highway News, May 23, 2013

Northern Opportunities “export model” development

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By , June 13, 2013
Northern Opportunities (NOP) is working with Sage Transitions to develop a model that describes what Northern Opportunities is, how it works and how others can replicate its success. Ten years of work has involved considerable learning, development and expansion of the program. Now, Sage Transitions is helping Northern Opportunities develop a report to “export” the model to other regions.
To get a realistic and more personalized look at Northern Opportunities, Sage Transitions is interviewing many of the people involved. They are asking questions about how the program has affected people, students, schools, employers and the communities involved.
These interviews will help NOP understand the big picture and the overall Northern Opportunities model. Sage Transitions are interested in the people and the stories behind the program. They hope to connect with many people who have been involved in different parts of Northern Opportunities to put together a full and complete perspective of the program.

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