FORT KENT- Seven students from Community High School attended the Jobs for Maine's Graduates Career Development Conference on Friday, April 27.
Organizers held the event at the Augusta Civic Center for the more than 64 schools that have Jobs for Maine's Graduates classes as part of their curriculum offerings.
Students competed in many different events such as: employment interview; imagination station, a marketing competition; presentation power, in which the students had to explain how they determined who in their community should receive the $1,000 JOY grant that JMG, through the Unity Foundation, provides to the community; personal speech; and marketplace, where the students decorate a certain space to demonstrate the four goals of JMG. The four goals are career development, social awareness, community service, and leadership.
"These students did an amazing job and I am so proud of them," said Susan Dubay, the JMG instructor at Fort Kent Community High School.
Thomas Enerva, a senior at CHS, won first place in the employment interview competition. He has, through the JMG classroom, much experience with employment interviews. He was able to participate in a mock panel interview at Daigle Oil as JMG partnered with DOC for a real world experience in acquiring employment. Enerva also had the opportunity to participate in a mock interview with Karen Ouellette of Northern Maine Community College. Karen has talked with the students on a number of occasions about interview ‘dos and don'ts’.
Taylor Cyr, also a CHS senior, wowed the judges and placed second with her employment interview.
"To have two students come in first and second place in the employment interview competition definitely makes me realize that this class is making a difference in these students’ lives and that they are learning things that will last them a lifetime," said Dubay.
Imagination station was a fast-paced competition in which students only found out the demands and the content of the competition at the event. Contest leaders informed them that there was a problem and that the students needed to find a solution. After they learned about the problem, they had five minutes to discuss, fifteen minutes to plan, and five minutes to present as a team to a panel of judges. Three seniors, Amanda Blanchette, Roxanne Pelletier, and Shelby Taggett earned first place in this competition.
"This is teamwork in action and I am so proud of these girls," said Dubay.
Taylor Cyr brought home third place in the personal speech. Senior Dalton Lozier and junior Kaitlyn Collin presented for presentation power. In this competition, the two-person team had to review the ten-step process used to determine the winner of the JOY grant. They placed third for their presentation.
Another competition at the CDC was the marketplace. This was an intense competition in which the team members created and displayed a "marketplace" to showcase for judges and attendees the message of what each JMG chapter focused on throughout the year. CHS's marketplace was a "lemonade stand" which demonstrated two important concepts that were brought up over and over in the JMG classroom. One was financial literacy, specifically, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. In other words, be ready for life's ups and downs financially, and know how to keep your head above water. The second was entrepreneurship, or knowing what the work world expects from you.
JMG partnered with NorState Federal Credit Union and students were fortunate to receive financial literacy instruction from Denise Cote and Keelah Gagnon. JMG partnered with Daigle Oil for work ready experience with Tim Freeman at the helm. Dubay and her students thank each of these companies for their support and willingness to spend time educating the JMG students.
Governor LePage, a huge supporter of JMG, was at the opening speaker at the event and gave advice to the students. He told students, "If it is to be, it is up to me!"
"These JMG students will walk away from this class and from this CDC event with knowledge and experience to assist them in their future successes. That is what JMG is all about," said Dubay.