Calera High students prepare for life beyond high school

Published 3:14 pm Monday, June 10, 2013

Calera Police Sergeant Deven Heathcock talks with sophomore Zachary Goodwin in a mock interview at Calera High School. (contributed)

Calera Police Sergeant Deven Heathcock talks with sophomore Zachary Goodwin in a mock interview at Calera High School. (contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Calera High School began participation in the A+ College Ready’s Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program during the 2011-12 school term. Principal Richard Bishop credits this program, My Future Project and a daily advisory period, for successfully preparing students for life beyond high school. In the school’s graduation commencement exercise May 21, Bishop announced this year’s senior class accrued a record-breaking $2,340,152 in scholarship awards.

Sophomore English teacher Dr. Mary Rees began conducting mock interviews in May 2011 to prepare students for the real world.

“Career readiness is part of the core curriculum,” Rees said. “Students begin preparing for college and careers as early as their freshman year at our school, and I wanted to prepare my students for job interviews. They have to think (about) what is needed on a resume and how they will build connections to get where they want to go.”

Rees solicits business professionals to conduct the interviews. Questions students are asked include strengths, weaknesses, skills, experience and why they should receive the job instead of another candidate. Students are graded on communication skills, relevant skills, evidence of skills and professional appearance, poise and courtesy.

Sophomore Aubrie Smith said the interviews prepare students for the career field.

“It helps us get over being nervous about talking to an interviewer and it gave us a better understanding of what kind of questions you’re up against for the job,” Smith said.

Business education instructor Dawn Bone said My Future Project is utilized to prepare students for college and careers.

“Freshman students take the Career Cruising Matchmaker assessment to determine what career field best suits then. They explore the job field to gain knowledge of income and future possibilities of the occupation,” she said.

Sophomore students begin the basis for a resume and have a mock interview. Juniors refine their resume and begin college searches. Seniors give presentations of their post graduation goals and plans.

Bone said beginning in the 2013-14 school year, Shelby County schools will not offer BTA (Business Technology Applications). All students will take a career prep class that targets making career choices.


Mollie Brown is a community columnist for the city of Calera and can be reached at