Lakota West Holds Art Alumni Day, Providing Career Exploration Insight for Current Students
Imagine learning the “inside scoop” from someone who is already working in your field of interest, someone who graduated perhaps just a few years ago from your high school.
That’s the premise of Lakota West’s Art Alumni Day in which alumni return to the school to chat with current students. According to coordinator Stephanie Gauer, “This event is a very special opportunity for everyone involved. For our current students, this is a time for them to learn about all the great career opportunities available to them.”
She adds, “They get to hear from our alumni about what it’s like to be a college student, work with professors, specialize in a specific creative field, be in a studio environment, learn about college level expectations, and know what it’s like to have a co-op or internship. It’s a great way for our current students to learn how they can take their creative abilities to the next level and turn it into a career.”
There’s a benefit to the alums as well since they view it as a way for them to “pay it forward."
Alumnae Kathyrn Holaday attended the event to discuss her experience as a student at Ball State University. "It's fun to come back and talk to the students and makes me recall what I was doing just a few years ago," states the college junior. "Talking about my work with the students and what I'm experiencing at Ball State is very rewarding. I've found that my time at Lakota West as an AP art student really helped prepare me for what I'm encountering at college. The pace of work is similar and I was able to receive an art scholarship thanks to my strong portfolio that I built while at West."
Gauer explains, “Many of them were inspired by our alumni at Alumni Day when they were in high school and feel a desire and obligation to do the same thing for our current students. They really enjoy talking to our current students and give them advice on their work.”
This year, 20 LWHS alums participated representing fields such as graphic design, industrial design, animation, architecture, communication design, fashion design, and the fine arts. Students also appreciate the real-world insight offered by the alums.
Lakota West senior Emily Drexelius explains, "It's really helpful to hear the accurate news from them, instead of the sales angle that is provided by the college. The alums tell us what's real and they know what it will be like for us and want us to do well."
Gauer notes, “For us as teachers, it’s a great way for us to keep up to date with the trends and expectations at the post-secondary level. We get to catch up with our former students and see if they feel that our art program prepared them for college. This is extremely helpful for future planning, curriculum and project development. The day is filled with lots of inspiration, exploration, and discovery for everyone involved.”