Education Connection connects students with local business professionals

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–More than 20 career professionals made their way to the Helena High School media center the morning of Sept. 7, as the first Education Connection networking event of the school year got underway.

The event is a part of Shelby County Schools Career and Technical Education program and is sponsored by the Greater Shelby and South Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s, as well as the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation.

The primary goal of the Education Connection program is to “connect business with education” and several local business leaders networked with a handful of Helena High School students participating in the Career Technical Education courses.

Students and professionals were treated to chicken biscuits from Whataburger and coffee donated by Donut Joes in Pelham as the students learned about a variety of career path opportunities.

Helena High School senior Rachel Garner wants to attend either UAB or the University of Alabama after high school and explained why things like Education Connection are so important.

“Last year, I took the business essentials class with Coach Naron and it was a great program and I learned so much,” Garner said. “I want to get into the business side of the sports medicine field and last year I did Education Connection and made a lot of connections to do job shadowing. I also participated in the Shelby Hospital Explorer Program and I’ll be doing that again this year.”

Heidi Kouveras, Clif Naron, Michael Shields and Gina Gonzales are all teachers in the career tech department at HHS and teach classes such as career prep, entrepreneurship, AP computer science, business essentials, multimedia, sports medicine, foundations of health science, kinesiology and more.

“In our department our goal is to give them the skills and prepare them,” Kouveras said.

Events like Education Connection give students the opportunities to meet with career professionals face-to-face to address any questions they may have about their field or what they potentially will face upon graduating from school.

Education Connection will visit several other high schools within Shelby County over the next few months as the schedule is as follows:

–Vincent High School on Sept. 7

–Oak Mountain High School on Oct. 5

–Calera High School on Oct. 25

–Chelsea High School on Nov. 9

–Shelby County High School on Nov. 15

–Montevallo High School on Dec. 7