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Washougal students prepare for bright futures at Career Day

The Columbian
Published: May 6, 2023, 5:14am

WASHOUGAL — On April 19, middle school students from Jemtegaard Middle School and eighth grade students from Canyon Creek Middle School gathered for a day of career exploration. Career Day is a recurring event packed with sessions for high school readiness, career discovery, and future planning. It is one of many ways that Washougal School District encourages goal-oriented education and job readiness at all ages.

Community volunteers representing various careers, from woodworking to law enforcement and culinary arts, spoke with middle school students about opportunities in the work world. “I’m very honored to be a speaker at Career Day,” said John Furniss, a local woodworker also known as The Blind Woodsman. “I encourage the students to take everything in and consider everything. There’s so much at your fingertips,” said Furniss.

“Students met various local career specialists during the event, which helped them understand people’s paths to success in their careers,” said David Cooke, principal at Jemtegaard Middle School. “We also aim for students to learn the importance of finding a job that they enjoy doing,” said Cooke. Careers represented in these job-readiness sessions align with High School & Beyond Plan career pathways outlined by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In the afternoon, Washougal High School staff and ASB students led an academic welcome assembly in the gym where eighth-grade students learned about the opportunities and electives that can help shape their path in high school. “These eighth-grade students will go on to be the Washougal High School Class of 2027,” said Hillary Chapman. “By setting the stage for successful high school careers, we hope to raise on-time graduation rates for the Class of 2027,” said Chapman.

As eighth-grade students learned about high school preparedness, sixth- and seventh-grade students participated in hands-on OMSI science activities.

Job-readiness education is woven into the curriculum for students of all ages, from elementary to high school, at Washougal School District. “In my many observations, I see students provided with real-world applications to solving problems,” said David Cooke, principal at Jemtegaard Middle School. “By preparing students for the work world today, we’re shaping the productive and successful Washougal community of tomorrow.”