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Cottonwood Heights Journal

High school students dabble in careers on job shadow day

Jul 07, 2020 01:14PM ● By Julie Slama

Canyons School District students job shadowed professionals from architecture and electrical work to law and the legislature, as seen here. (Courtesy of Canyons School District)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Shortly before school was put on “soft closure” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brighton High senior Madison Henderson found herself inside a court room, her first time ever.

Lawyers were asking questions, the judge wanted to see the evidence in the case at Matheson Court House and Henderson was soaking it all in as part of Canyons School District’s job shadow day.

“It was really eye opening; I didn’t know I’d be interested in it,” she said. “We learned what everyone was doing in the line of work from the justice and district court up through appeals court. We watched a divorce court in process and someone fighting a parking ticket. We saw the holding cell and heard the stories from officers working there. I asked the most questions that day; it’s a very interesting line of work.”

Asking questions was what Hillcrest Work-Based Learning Facilitator Cher Burbank said they encouraged students to do while observing professionals on job shadow day.

“It was an opportunity for students to pick their brains; ask how they got there in that position, what was beneficial they did to be there, what can be done now to start learning and gaining that real-world experience and knowledge,” she said.

Henderson was one of about 100 juniors and seniors from the five district traditional high schools who shadowed professionals in their field. Students could request careers in engineering, electrical and mechanical assembly, law, entertainment and sports, car dealerships, medical, architecture, television media, police, chamber of commerce, state legislature and students with special needs.

“We invite students to shadow professionals to get a sense of ‘a day in the life’ of a career they’re interested in,” said Patti Larkin, career and technical education district coordinator. “It’s a highlight experience for students who gain a hands-on look at their field from understanding a blueprint to helping in a chiropractic office.”

Hillcrest High junior Charlie Scriver job shadowed Chiropractor Blaine Awerkamp.

“I was able to follow Dr. Awerkamp around his office, see how he interacts with patients and treats them as well as how he runs a chiropractic clinic,” Scriver said. “It gave me good insight into another medical option.”

During his two-hour observation, Scriver said that he watched Awerkamp treat six or seven patients who were recovering from car accident or an injury or returning to the office in need of a hip or spine adjustment.

“I never have seen behind the scenes in a medical field before, so this gave me more than how he treats them. Between patients he explained the tools and methods he uses, his pathway and schooling into the field and how to run a business,” he said. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity. It opened my eyes to explore more options. I learned so many things and had never considered this before.”

Corner Canyon senior Harli Miller was up at 4:15 a.m. to job shadow the KSL-TV morning team. She met TV personalities and toured the newsroom, broadcast sets, production room, and was introduced to the news radio crew.

“I watched as they broadcast live and talked to the anchors,” Miller said. “I saw the weather person give the forecast in front of a green screen. I watched from the production room switching announcements during the commercial breaks. It was really cool to see the whole process.”

Miller was currently enrolled in a broadcast class to fill an elective credit and helped with school announcements on Charger TV.

“It turned out that I love it,” she said. “I really am interested in the graphic design part, so I talked to them about the programs they use and the best way to get into the field. I just put myself out there to learn more. It was cool opportunity.”

Since then, Miller has watched the newscast at home with her family.

“I was surprised how much I knew from being behind the scenes that day,” she said. “I was explaining to them how everything works and what was happening that wasn’t on the air.”

Larkin said that after the morning job shadow, the event culminates with students and professionals having lunch conversations with others in the industry.

Keynote speaker Mike Terry from Ken Garff Hyundai told students that their slogan “we hear you” is not only about hearing customers, but also doing it the RIGHT (Respect others, Intelligence, Greatness - strive to achieve, Honesty - totally and completely, and Teamwork) way in any career.

“It was great to learn how that can help us stand out as an employee in any field we do,” Henderson said. “I got to hear about all the other job shadows and learn about their opportunities. Everyone should do job shadow day. It’s a fun day where you get a taste of what it’s like.”