For two decades juniors at Kenai Central High School (KCHS) have been able to take a day out of the classroom and into the work day world of careers available in the local area thanks to a joint venture between the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and KCHS faculty known as Job Shadow. 135 juniors this year shadowed 56 businesses of their choice. 27 students were hosted at Central Peninsula Hospital where they learned of a variety of health care opportunities and shadowed doctors and nurses from radiology to emergency rooms. “We saw a lot of interest almost a trend of interest in radiology, oncology and nursing this year,” said Jim Childers, CPH volunteer coordinator.
Other students were interested in firefighting and public safety. Keenan Segura was interest in police work and shadowed officer Bower for the day, “I’ve watched shows on TV like Law & Order and I found it interesting and something I might pursue as a career. It was a good experience but I think my next step will be to pursue a college degree,” said Segura. “Not much similarity between TV and everyday law enforcement, but we’re taking calls as they come in today and Keenan has already gone out on a couple with me, but not everything is exciting being a police officer,” said officer Bower.
Two shadows wanted to explore newspaper journalism so Peninsula Clarion Editor Will Morrow assigned them their first front page story to cover the 20th Job Shadow Day. According to Johna Beech, president and CEO for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce councilors at KCHS sit down with the students and after taking aptitude tests and talking about their interests pick their top three careers, “They provide us with those choices and then we contact our member businesses in the area to match students with if possible their top choice if not down to their third choice and this year that ran the gamut from food service to orthopedic surgery,” she said. Over at PJ’s restaurant in Soldotna chef Mike Daune taught shadow Colton Richardson how to crack an egg with one hand and Bobbi showed Jonathan Evans how weigh the sweet potato fries.
Lunch for everyone was provided by Arby’s, McDonalds and Pizza Paradisos. “Everyone pitches in and it’s a huge accomplishment for everyone to put this on and a big shout out to all especially the faculty at KCHS who we couldn’t make this happen without,” said Beech.