2018-06-13 / Let's Talk

Point to Opportunities offers career info

By Eddie Donoghue

An exciting program at Andes Central School (ACS) called Point To Opportunities looks to expose freshmen students to a wide variety of professional opportunities by introducing them to professionals in the field.

The program was first proposed by community member and volunteer Jeff Ditchek in the fall of 2013 and was implemented in January of 2014. His goal was to bring in professionals from diverse fields to talk to students about their trades. Often, the presenters will bring in the tools they work with to better illustrate their work to the students. In the past, this has included blood pressure monitors and drones used to make videos. News Publisher Joan Lawrence-Bauer has been a contributor to the program and spent last Friday afternoon with the students talking about journalism in general and careers in the field in particular.

Ditchek makes the first presentation each school year in October where he talks about engineering. He also tries to gauge the students’ interests and motivations. Based on what he learns, he then tries to find other professionals to present on topics that will match their interests. He also makes a point to try to introduce the students to professions they may not have thought or even heard of previously. As freshmen, Ditchek realizes many students do not and will not know what they wish to do for some time. Showing them a range of options, may help lead them down new paths of discovery.

Ditchek is assisted with the Point to Opportunities program by media specialist and educator Grace Bacon whose classroom hosts the presentations. Bacon has been a strong supporter of the program and has guided Ditchek along the way with her in-classroom experience.

Some of the professionals represented in the program include lawyers, engineers, nurse practitioners, morticians, actors, interior designers, journalists, veterinarians, and electrical, welding, and carpenter trades from SUNY Delhi. Ditchek says he is often asked by the presenters if the program is implemented at other schools in the area. To his knowledge, it is not, though he says it could be. Anyone interested in learning more or sharing information a trade during the next school year should contact Ditchek at 607.676.3437.

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