Shelby County Schools debuts Next Steps at SCHS

COLUMBIANA- Shelby County Schools implemented its Next Steps program for the first time at Shelby County High School. High school seniors from Vincent High School spent the day with SCHS seniors to learn about interview etiquette, how to dress for success and how to cultivate their future careers, as well as prepare for their senior exit interviews.

“This is not just for kids who are going to college. This is for all seniors, because they’re about to do their first interviews,” said Shelby County Schools Career Coach Aubri McClendon. “We’re hoping that this gives them the confidence to get engaged and explore different careers.”

Next Steps also provided students with opportunities to fill out college applications and FAFSA forms. Students also learned how to invest their money wisely in adulthood.

Students visited several stations around the school where representatives from the University of Montevallo, Seventh Heaven, Alabama Power, the Bold Goals Coalition of Alabama, the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, America’s First Federal Credit Union and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce spoke to them about luncheon etiquette, interview skills, how to dress properly for an interview, FAFSA and college applications, financial stability and team building.

Lunch was catered by a food truck from FIVE Restaurant in Birmingham.

Students attended a fashion show that featured examples of what to wear and what to avoid in a professional setting. Afterwards, students were able to take home a professional outfit from clothes that were collected by a local clothing drive.

McClendon said the school board originally came up with Next Steps because they wanted to provide students with the resources to be successful.

“The idea came from the fact that some of our students didn’t really have professional clothes. Last year, when they were doing their senior exit exams, some of them just wouldn’t show up because they didn’t have anything to wear,” McClendon said. “We want to make sure that these students have the tools to walk out of this place and maybe come back and help build our community up.”

Several students said Next Steps proved to be helpful to several students. SCHS senior Haleigh Gowers said she especially appreciated the help on her interview skills. After high school, Gowers plans to attend college and become a nurse.

“I’ve never had an interview, and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if we weren’t going over all of this,” Gowers said.