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Real-world training for ‘Future Leaders’ at Chatham Middle

Real-world training for ‘Future Leaders’ at Chatham Middle

SILER CITY, N.C. — The mock interviews Chatham Middle School students participated in Friday, January 27, at their campus during Future Leaders Day generated a few butterflies, principal Chad Morgan said.

“That just lets me know that the kids really see this as something important,” he said.

Organizer Abby Bishop, a guidance counselor at the school, said she used the Career Cruising program, which is provided by Chatham County Schools. This program helps provide students a potential career path tailored to their personalities and interests. Students used that information to build résumés that provided talking points for both district leaders and community representatives, who interviewed students during Future Leaders Day.

Chatham Middle eighth-grader Wesley Apple, 13, said Future Leaders Day offered real-world experience that any young person could use when applying for colleges or angling for employment.

“If they were trying to get into McDonald’s and they’re interviewing someone, they could shake their hand, look directly into their eye, and they could know exactly what to do at that point,” Apple said.

“It’s about making education practical,” Morgan said.

“Our kids are getting some real-life experience, not just talking about making a résumé or talking about what an interview’s about, but they’re actually getting to sit down with professionals within our school district, within our community and actually practice those skills that we’re trying to teach them in the classroom,” Morgan said. “They need to know what is the next step after middle school. Everything doesn’t start in high school. It starts in middle school, because when they become freshmen and sophomores, that’s when they’re going to start looking at colleges, applying for jobs. So if we can build those skills now, it’s only going to translate to better opportunities when they get to high school.”