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Highlander Guild Promotes Vocational Careers, Connections with Local Trade Employers

 

Last updated 6/26/2019 at 1:02pm

Over the past six years, the graduation rate at Lake Wales High School has soared, from just over 70 percent for the 2013-14 school year to over 90 percent last school year.

While a vast majority of grads decide to head off to college, there are many who also want to pursue a different path, which was the genesis of the Highlander Guild, a new organization at the school this past year designed to introduce students to potential vocational careers to become plumbers, electricians, carpenters and more.

"(Principal Donna) Dunson proposed it last school year," adviser Jasmine Ansley recalled. "She was interested in bridging the gap for our students who may not want to go to college but still want to learn a trade. So its a way to go into a trade and maybe at some time still pursue their education."

The program allows students to interact with those in the field to make decisions about their future a little more informed.

"The idea is to bring in business and trade persons so we can connect students with potential career paths, and even the opportunity to maybe evaluate something and say, 'maybe this is not for me. Let me find something else I may like.' The goal is to connect them with job opportunities, internships and trade programs," Ansley said.

She also noted the fledgling program has already cast a wide net.

Earlier this school year, several students were placed in the culinary field at Mountain Lake, and the program has attracted interest from everybody from Legoland to the Ferguson's Distribution Center in Frostproof.

"We're trying to balance it out between finding a job and looking at career potential," added Ansley, now a testing coordinator in her fifth year on Highlander Hill. "A lot of them don't have a real solid plan. We definitely want to let students know there are always opportunities no matter where they go in life, to help them find those opportunities they might not necessarily see on the surface. There's more than just lawyer, doctor, nurse. You might find an interest and develop a career and enjoy getting up and going to work every day."

 

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