Highland Center helping young people learn work skills
Monterey, Va. – The Highland Center in Monterey has organized another summer Youth Employment Program this year. Over a dozen students are working at several sites around the county. School Superintendent Dr. Will Crawford has been a strong supporter of the program this year.
“It’s a pleasure for us to have an opportunity to give the kids an opportunity to learn to work,” said Dr. Crawford. “A lot of our children really don’t know how to work. And when I say how to work (I mean), how to get up on time, come in at a specific time, come in on time, do a specific set of tasks as you are asked to do them and complete those in a timely manner. And if you are not trained and given an opportunity to do that, sometimes it is difficult for them to go into the work world and be successful,” he said.
The Highland School has the largest group of summer students.
“I have been very pleased to see several of our kids work really hard,” said Dr. Crawford. “Once you teach them how to do and show them what to do, and that’s just been thrilling for me to see. We’ve had a couple kids not be as successful as I would like to see them be, but I think that just goes to show that this program is needed all the more,” he said.
Rising senior Will Beasley is one of the students working at the school this year.
“I’ve watched that young man go up and down the hall,” said Dr. Crawford. “I’ve watched his interactions with adults – Yes ma’am, no ma’am.’ Karen has had little bitty things and he’s offered to help Karen with this, that and the other, and I’m thinking gosh – what a gracious, mature young man. We’re not his supervisors, we’re just working here. But when you will do your job and then ask others can I help you with this’ or can I help you with that’ – those are the kinds of “muscles” he is exercising that will pay off big in the future,” he said.
Information Technology Specialist Will Jenkins is Will Beasley’s supervisor.
“I have a couple students from Highland County Public Schools working here for the summer and they are technology IT assistants,” said Mr. Jenkins. “The purpose of this position is to support and assist with the daily operation of Highland County Schools daily information technology operations. What’s so great about the program is that it gives students the opportunity to learn while they earn. It encourages the students to do their very best. Also, it allows them to assist with the development of career goals. I enjoy having the kids here. They are learning a whole lot. I just enjoy working with them and I would love to see this program continued,” he said.
Will Beasley talks about his work at the school.
We work to set up all the computers for the teachers to come back in their rooms and downloaded software (and) programs,” said Will. “We work on computers and printers, everything of that nature. We just recently got forty-four laptops that we will have to set up. I don’t think I would do this in the future for a career, but it’s fun. It’s a nice summer job,” he said.
Will goes on to talk about his favorite subjects at school and his plan for college.
“So far in school environmental science, any kind of science really, like Biology,” said Will. “Science has been my major. I’d like to attend WVU. They have a very good forestry, fisheries and wildlife program and I’d like to get into that and be a forester or something,” he said.