Students focus on the future


Chris Ruiz

Drama instructor Nick Garcia informs high schoolers at Career Focus Friday about various opportunities at LMC.

Jordan Neel, [email protected]

Students from Freedom, Liberty, Deer Valley, Pittsburg and Dozier-Libbey Medical high schools visited Los Medanos College for the third annual Career Focus Friday.

The event is designed to bring high school students from the East County area — whether they’re part of an academic decathlon, Regional Occupation Program (ROP) class or any kind of course sequencing at their high school — to LMC. It gives them an opportunity to tour the campus, learn about the school’s programs, meet the instructors and explore their options for the future.

“We want to bring them over on a career clustered focus day,” said Community and Educational Partnership Liaison Kelly Green, who took part in running the event for the third time this school year.

In October, LMC hosted Health and Public Safety Day. This semester, they’ve held Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA). Next week it’s Early Childhood and Education careers, with an Industrial Tech event in March and a STEM event in April.

The goal is to have the teachers and faculty at the high school help these students to identify these classes and programs. When they come to campus, they have a much more focused career cluster to consider for their future options.

“It’s much more focused and hopefully hitting the mark with student’s interests,” said Green.

Last week’s VAPA day, professors Rick Shiner of Recording Arts, Kyle Chuah of Music Production, Nick Garcia of Theatre, Lucy Snow of Ceramics and Sculpture, Curtis Corlew of Photography, Cindy McGrath of Journalism, Luis Zuniga of Music all participated in presenting their subjects to high school students. Student enthusiasm typically runs high.

“We do surveys at the end. We ask them for their opinion on the different programs that they’ve seen. I usually follow a group around at the stops to kind of see how things are going, how are students are interacting, what did they learn,” said Green. “It’s a great experience not just for high school students but for anyone who’s a part of it.”

 Students also have a way to plan out their degree.

“We have LMC folders we give to each student as they walk in,” says Green. “We fill it with degree checklists, with ‘What can you do with this Major?’ fliers. For VAPA Day we put in the LMC Honor Band application in there. Anything that’s very specific for that career, we’re going to put in.”

As for whether or not this most recent Career Focus Friday was the best one so far, Green admitted there is always room for improvement.

“Just small little tweaks that we learned about timing. One of our challenges is buses. It takes longer for schools such as Heritage to arrive, so we’ll have buffer time in the beginning of the event that we utilize Shenanigans[LMC’s improv comedy group]. I have to say that our faculty has been above and beyond outstanding.”

Orchestra and Band director Luis Zuniga had a full band performance in the Recital Hall, along with a performance from Drama Department Chair Nick Garcia and a couple of theatre students.

Matt Sutton, music major at LMC, acted as a tour guide and even sung while playing piano.

“I believe that by giving the students a chance to see fine arts at the college level,” says Sutton, “It’ll show them that it’s actually an option. The arts need all the help they can get as far as higher education goes.”

For Sutton, speaking to the high school students was the highlight of his day.

“I had a few students come up to me and ask me questions. Overall, they seemed fairly interested, which was really cool to see. I remember being a high school student being terrified of asking questions, so it was nice to see that wasn’t the case,” said Sutton. “It’s very important to show all these kids all of the options they have. You never know, some might find their calling in whatever field they’re being shown.”