Area students had the opportunity to explore nontraditional careers during a two-day program offered through the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett.
A total of 263 eighth graders from 13 different schools participated in the Center's New Traditions Upward Program (NTUP). Students from Cassville, Purdy, Exeter, Wheaton, Southwest and Shell Knob were involved in the program, which took place on Dec. 5 and 6.
NTUP allows students to participate in hands-on activities offered through nontraditional career programs. According to Janet Reppert, career education coordinator, a nontraditional career is defined as a career where less than 25 percent of the people working the job are of one gender.
As a result of this definition, male students participated in health occupations, business technology and childcare programs, and female students participated in auto collision, auto technology, computer programming, computer-aided drafting, culinary arts, graphics communication, JROTC, machine tool and welding.
The career exploration program is divided into four sessions and each student takes one class during one session. Each class is approximately two hours long and ranges in size from five to 10 students.
Counselors at each of the participating schools select interested students for the program after Reppert presents a program entitled "Careers Have No Gender" to all area eighth graders. Because space is limited, counselors seek out the students they believe are truly interested in the program.
Eighth graders who participated in the NTUP program are listed below by school district.
Cassville: Taylor Adams, Sidney Atkinson, Taylor Bailey, Korey Banks, Alana Barker, Bo Blisard, Dakota Brown, Brittany Clevenger, Andrew Cole, Kendal Craig, Lauren Davis, Brianna Delacruz, Janine Donnell, Melissa Fink, Lindsay Frame, Larry Franklin, Abby Hanson, Katherine Hoff, Katesha Holman, Brittany Lassiter, Josh Lewright, Megan Long, Paige Lynxwiler, Emily Lyons, Bradley Meek, Brittany Montz, Lorena Ortega, Chris Smith, Evan Stubblefield, Lindsey Turner, Kristen Wilson, Laurin Wisrock, Evan Wolf, Miranda Wright and Asia Yost.
Purdy: Andrew Brandt, Josh Hill, Madeline Tate, Stephanie Brown, Jenica Hardwick, Kaitlyn Kast, Michaela Analla, Chloe Miles, Marisol Carrillo, Siriki Yang, Amanda Cunningham, Sandra Barrientos, Brittany Smith, Abdiel Venegas, Tabitha Terveen and Ashlea Formaz.
Wheaton: Veronica Bailey, Jakob Beck, Nicki Blair, Zach Clark, Sarah Deshazer, Kaitlyn England, Shirley Galvan, Raschelle Hickman, Ryan Koperski, Shai Lee, Jessica Pettinggill, Ranysha Pierce, Rachel Russell, Elizabeth Shockley, Pa Vang and Goa-Shoua Yang.
Exeter: Ashton Scott, Brendan Rayburn, Destani Stensrud, Rebecca Berry, Rebekah Schlessman, Jenna Thomas, Victoria Dunbar, Phillip Anderson, Devin Boyke, Kylie Foster, Ryan Hobbs, Chelbie Kern and Matthew Phillips.
The names of Southwest and Shell Knob eighth graders who participated in NTUP were not available at presstime.
The Southwest Area Career Center, located at 711 Ninth St. in Monett, currently serves 15 schools in Barry and Lawrence counties. Barry County districts utilizing the Career Center include Wheaton, Cassville, Southwest, Exeter, Purdy and Monett.
High school students currently enrolled in the Southwest Area Career Center also assisted with the New Traditions Upward Program by greeting the students and working with them in their individual classes.