Bright futures: VWSD program teaches students about careers

Published 2:48 am Friday, February 23, 2024

Beginning with the smallest scholars in pre-kindergarten and stretching through seventh grade, Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) students are getting a look at different career paths available to them very close to home.

The program, Architecture, Construction, Mechanics and Engineering (ACME), is taught during special area time on a regular school day, with four presentations throughout the year. Each presentation highlights specific career options that can be found in Vicksburg and Warren County. Previous classes profiled the occupations of a salon owner and a lineman.

At Warrenton Elementary School, the lesson in Alvin Jones’s sixth-grade class on Tuesday began with a video showing students
what it’s like to be a deckhand on a barge. Students were taught about the significance of commercial transportation on the Mississippi River, why rivers are so important, and the variety of careers associated with the Mississippi River in Vicksburg.

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Following the video, lead teacher Diane Strozewski emphasized to the students how special it is that the careers are options available in the Vicksburg area.

“These aren’t jobs that are in California or Florida. They’re right here in Vicksburg,” she said. “It’s right here. You can actually see this. Going over the bridge, you can see the barges going underneath.”

The class was given the assignment of creating a tugboat and barge. In teams of twos and threes, students were given construction paper, string, glue, markers and paper plates. Chatter filled the room as they decided on the best way to construct their model. Using their imaginations, the teams crafted models of a tugboat and a barge, using string as the tow line.

Student Services Coordinator, Kayla Kivett explained her job at VWSD in career and technical education entails creating programs about careers for teachers to present in the classroom that are age-level appropriate. She is part of a team that collaborates to find occupations that are relevant to students in the school district. Projects are divided by grade and packaged into bags that are easy for teachers to take to the classroom.

As Jones announced the students had three minutes to complete projects, student Ashton James worked to finish his team’s project. He propped the tugboat up on the table and declared it good. His fellow teammates grinned in agreement and ran to line up at the door in order to move on to another lesson.

By exposing students to career possibilities at an early age, educators hope to familiarize the children with options. As they mature and discover their talents and interests, students are better equipped to make the right career choices. In discovering what they can offer the world, children grow into adults who can find their places in it. And that’s the ultimate goal, VWSD educators said.