Lunch & Learn Series for West Seniors

Lunch & Learn Series Prepares West Seniors for Life after High School
Posted on 12/19/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Lunch & Learn Series Prepares West Seniors for Life after High School

collage of lunch and learn sessions with seniorsLife after high school can mean enrollment, employment, military enlistment or venturing into entrepreneurship (the 4Es).

Lakota West is helping its seniors prepare for these paths by holding Lunch & Learn events throughout the school year.

“Instead of one large 4E event for students, we wanted to personalize it,” said Assistant Principal Nicole Isaacs. Seniors can sign up for many sessions as they like, and they get to enjoy a pizza lunch while gaining invaluable advice from community partners.

“We’ve held one event on entrepreneurship and one on employability so far, with several more planned after winter break,” said Isaacs.

Innovation Specialist Lindsey Ellis and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator Katie Bauer have helped plan the Lunch & Learn sessions. 

Entrepreneurs Share Life, Business Advice

For the first session, Principal Elgin Card invited three entrepreneurs from the community to West, asking them to sharing stories about how they got started and where they are today.

“At age 13, I was doing everything but the right thing,” said Joshua Reid, who owns several businesses. But with the right role models and a strong work ethic, Reid finished high school with a 4.0 GPA, played three sports, was an All-American, and received an academic scholarship to a top electrical engineering school. He went on to grad school, and started work as an engineer, but wasn’t doing something he loved. So he used vacation days to network and build relationships, and eventually started his own business. “I took a chance and never stopped believing in myself,” he said. “Being a business owner is a risk, and you get out of it what you put in. You can never be complacent.”

Greg Colson, owner of Clear Advantage Window Cleaning, agreed saying “In business, nothing is just given to you. You have to work hard for it.” He also told students to find what they love; to not get into something just for the money.  “Don’t chase someone else’s dream for you.”

Elwood Moss, owner of God’s Quality Barber Studio, emphasized the importance of building relationships and to be mindful of how you treat all people.

The entrepreneurs shared both life and business advice during the hour-long session. All had businesses that failed, but they all emphasized that you need to believe in yourself, and not let outside noise distract you from where you want to go in life.

Seniors that attended were intent on everything they had to say. Senior LaQuandre Berry said, “The entrepreneurs were very inspirational – I wished I learned these things even earlier in life, so I could start thinking about all of the things they had to say and apply them to my life.”

P & G Learning Development and HR Expert Gives Tips

“What you start out doing in your career and what you end up doing will probably be very different,” said P & G’s Ian Davidson in his Lunch & Learn session on employability. He began his career as a chemical engineer and now works in the company’s Learning Development and HR area.

Davidson said that employability all comes down to how you market yourself, and he gave the seniors some tips on what interviewers look for. Grades are just a starting point to show work ethic, but how you describe your experience and leadership skills can make a huge impact on whether or not you get the internship or the job.

He said that there are situations in your work and school experiences that can help show your skills in creating things, interacting with people, and solving problems. Davidson encouraged the students to take a closer look at their experience, and not overlook the little things that might show how you led a team or helped solve a problem.

Davidson told the seniors that most interviews now are behavioral interviews and usually include questions like tell me a time when you solved a problem, when you showed leadership and when you had to deal with difficult people. Mock interviews are a great way to prepare for these interviews. Preparing is key. Other tips: keep your resume to one page; include a little bit about you, but focus on leadership, experience and skills relevant to the job you want --  and be sure to make yourself stand out.

For those going to college, Davidson gave this advice on what to do as a freshman: go to the career showcase to get to know the field/companies you want to work for, get involved in something you are passionate about, and get good grades.

Senior Anna Levine’s big takeaway from the session was that “all involvement matters – even the little things. It is just how you present them or describe them.” Antonio Alejandro learned a number of things as well. “Now I know how important it is to have a plan before going into interview -- questions I will be asked and questions I should ask. And how making connections is key in getting a job.”

Lunch & Learn topics after break will include military enlistment, college preparation and more.