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This Week on #WorkforceWednesday: Finding Your Fit After High School
Alex LeMoine

This semester, both Cary-Grove High School and Prairie Ridge High School invited numerous businesses, careers and schools to attend the annual Tech and Career Fair at PR and the Job Fair at CG. As students move towards life after high school, district 155’s College & Career Centers are working to shift how we frame opportunities in the workforce. 

“There’s been a shift in our society with regard to what we talk to students about in terms of their options after high school,” said Paula Steiner, who has run the College & Career Center at Prairie Ridge for years.

In Steiner’s experience, it all comes down to learning style, not intelligence. She asks students to think about which classes they’ve found the most success in throughout high school. If it’s the hands-on learning in Autos, Foods or Project Lead the Way classes that stands out, a technical career or trade school may be the best fit..

“I always try to tell the kids, think about what your favorite things are that you do in school. What brings you the most joy? And after that, then that’s where we springboard to what am I going to do after high school,” said Amy Hayes, the College & Career Center supervisor at Cary-Grove High School.

Both Hayes and Steiner work with students at all grade levels with a variety of interests and goals after high school. They agree that the earlier students meet with them and begin exploring career options, the better.

“There is a huge gap in our country called the skills gap where technical jobs, vocational jobs, the trades--these people are all retiring. I tell my students, look at that as an opportunity,” said Steiner.

Thankfully, a variety of industry professionals are willing to help our students bridge this gap.

“The amount of community members that are willing to take in our students and give them on the job training is amazing,” said Hayes, who recognizes the importance of getting students who don’t want to attend a 4-year university connected with professionals. 

The job and career fairs hosted by each College & Career Center provides students with the perfect opportunity to network and begin thinking about their path after high school.

“I think these businesses coming in are looking to see how our students relate to them,” said Hayes.

“All you know is that you need the job, and they’re the person that’s going to help you get the job. Going to something like the Job Fair is really helpful because you see new faces in a different environment,” said senior Spencer Bethers, whose experience in music and fine arts has taught him to treat every interview as an audition.

Dylan Centers, a senior at Cary-Grove who plans to attend McHenry County College in the fall, had no idea what he wanted to do before visiting the College & Career Center and attending Cary-Grove’s Job Fair.

“It can open your mind to a business you’ve never even heard of that you might like,” said Centers. 

For the rest of our conversation with Paula and Amy about the value of connecting with industry professionals, listen to D155’s Workforce Wednesday podcast here.

#WorkforceWednesday is a marketing campaign that will provide valuable content to prepare students with life-ready skills and to initiate and strengthen workforce partnerships in our community which aligns with the district’s strategic plan.

The #WorkforceWednesday marketing campaign is an opportunity for the district to engage, interact, and have two-way conversations with students, staff, business partners and industry professionals across multimedia platforms. To see more #WorkforceWednesday’s be sure to follow @CHSD155 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

PR Coach Inducted into State Baseball Hall of Fame
Shannon Podzimek

Glen Pecoraro, Prairie Ridge High School head baseball coach, was inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) Hall of Fame on January 25. The IHSBCA executive board selects coaching candidates for induction into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame. This year, six coaches were inducted.

“As a head coach, you put in countless hours and never think about these type of honors. We do it because we love it. I have been very lucky to have coached hundreds of great kids and had tremendous support from parents,” said Glen Pecoraro.

This will be Pecoraro’s 20th year as head coach for Prairie Ridge baseball. He has been teaching and coaching in District 155 for 26 years. In 2014, Pecoraro’s team placed fourth in the state for class 4A. During his time coaching, he has won 10 Fox Valley Conferences and 12 regional championships.

“He is one of the most influential people I’ve had in my life in terms of shaping me as a young adult and putting me on a path to success. During the off season we are in the weight room every other day, and along with getting physically stronger, Coach Pec is always pushing us to be disciplined, honest, and hard working,” said Joe Hansen, Prairie Ridge graduate. “My time in PR baseball is something I will always remember and always cherish.

Coach Pecoraro sent 90 players onto the collegiate level to play and seven professional players including two players in the MLB.

“Coach Pec is one of the most passionate people we have at PRHS, and his energy is so evident to anybody around him - whether it's the classroom or the baseball field, Pec is going out there to give it everything he's got every time,” said Steve Koch, Prairie Ridge principal. 

Since 1977, the IHSBCA has inducted over 200 coaches.



 

Register for Summer Driver Education
Shannon Podzimek

Students must be 15 before May 1 in order to enroll in the summer program.

There are a limited number of spots available for the summer program so the oldest students will be enrolled first. Students that don’t make the cut off can enroll in classes during the school year.  All schedules will be posted after Spring Break.

Pick up or print out a Class Schedule/Registration Form beginning February 18.

Fill out the sheet ranking the times you would be able to attend classes.

Both the student and parent must sign the schedule sheet.

All forms must be turned in no later than March 13.

Bring the signed schedule sheet and a check or money order made out to “District 155” in the amount of $100 to the Student Services Office.

Forms

2020 Driver Ed Summer School Program - Click here

2020 Driver Ed Summer School - Click here

Driver Ed Registration Form - Click here

Prairie Ridge Presents “Crazy for You”
Shannon Podzimek

A zany rich-boy-meets-hometown-girl romantic comedy, CRAZY FOR YOU® tells the story of young New York banker Bobby Child, who is sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a rundown theater. In Deadrock, Bobby falls for spunky Polly Baker, the theater owner’s daughter. But Polly takes an instant dislike to the city slicker, so Bobby vows – through cunning, razzmatazz, and a hilarious case of mistaken identity – to win Polly’s heart and save the theater. Memorable Gershwin tunes from the score include “I Got Rhythm,” “Naughty Baby,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Embraceable You,” “But Not for Me,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” 

Show Dates, Times & Ticket Information

February 28 - 7:00 p.m.

February 29 - 7:00 p.m.

March 5 – 7:00 p.m.

March 6 – 7:00 p.m.

March 7 – 1:00 p.m.

March 7 - 6:00 p.m.

 

All tickets are $10

Tickets will be available for online purchase on Tuesday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m.

Buy Tickets Now

PR Student Awarded Congressional Silver Medal
Alex LeMoine

Prairie Ridge senior, Ermina Hassan, was presented the Congressional Silver Medal for her efforts in the community by U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood on January 17. 

The Congressional Silver Medal recognizes outstanding young people who have donated their time toward the betterment of their community and demonstrated personal growth. Hassan has been involved as a volunteer at multiple local hospitals during her time in high school. 

At Northwest Community Hospital, Hassan organized the creation of 200 oral hygiene kits to go out to local elementary school students in impoverished areas. She also volunteered at Mercy Hospital and handled administrative duties while communicating with patients. She was also given the chance to shadow an orthopedic surgeon while there.

“All opportunities were equally gratifying as I was able to see the difference I was making in the lives of the patients,” said Hassan, who is interested in going into the medical field.

Hassan has collected an impressive resume of extracurriculars since her freshman year. In addition to being involved in National Honors Society, speech club, a capella choir, and serving as a GEMS ambassador for girls interested in the STEM field, Hassan also co-founded a medical club at Prairie Ridge. 

“We bring in current medical professionals or students following the pre-health track and have them present their story and process of education,” said Hassan. 

After working to start the medical club her junior year, Hassan now serves as president of the group at PR. Hassan plans to one day take these experiences into her own career in the medical field.

“I've always known that I want to pursue a more hands-on and communicative job because I enjoy talking to people. After taking classes such as AP Biology and AP Chemistry, as well as volunteering in local hospitals, I realized that medicine encaptures the compassion aspect I want, but also the science aspect,” said Hassan.

Hassan is on track to attend college next year with a major in neuroscience and plans to eventually pursue medical school. She is currently deciding between the University of Loyola and University of Illinois at Chicago.