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January 28, 2016

On January 26th, 170 Work Based Learning Students from Alcovy, Eastside, Newton College and Career Academy, and Newton High School, along with 55 adult evaluators from business and industry, participated in Newton College and Career Academy’s annual Aspiring Young Professionals (AYP) Dinner.  During this event, each Work Based Learning student was required to wear professional dress and sit at a table in a formal setting to network with an adult evaluator.   Each evaluator was asked to use a grading rubric for students at their table and students were rated on their greeting with handshake, appropriateness of dress, ability to make conversation, courtesy, and table manners. 

“These are necessary life skills and the students have been honing them since the beginning of the school year,” said Debra Lary, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Newton County School System. “In fact, the Work Based Learning students from each school were required to attend sessions throughout the year on dining etiquette, business conversation, interview skills, and business dress and appearance.”

Lary added, “The AYP Dinner is one of the highlights of the students’ school year as they have the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned.”

At the end of the dinner, evaluators turned in their score sheets and according to Lary, the students will be able to see their scores by the end of the week.  As a result of this event, each WBL student will receive grades for attendance, dress, the evaluation score total, and writing thank you notes to the adults sitting at their table.

The dinner was held at the Newton College and Career Academy with the NCCA Culinary Department providing a delicious meal of baked chicken, sautéed vegetables, salad, and dessert.  The culinary students at NCCA along with Chef Instructors- Chef Scott Quinlan and Chef Charlotte Joy, prepared and served the meal to over 230 participants. 

Special guest speakers were, Mr. Lance Potvin from C.R. Bard, and Mr. John Ellenberg, Newton High School Principal.  Each speaker delivered wise advice that would apply to everyday skills in the work place and in life.  At the end of the program awards were presented to four students—one from each high school-- who stood out during the meet and greet portion of the night. Secret evaluators were placed in the audience to find a student who would initiate the conversation and also seemed at ease with talking to someone they’ve just met.

Several special guests were also in attendance at the dinner, including: Ms. Barbara Wall, Georgia DOE- CTAE Director; Director of Special Projects for the Governor’s Office, Dr. Susan Andrews; Delda Hagin, GA DOE Program Specialist; County Commissioners Lanier Sims and Nancy Schultz; Debbie Harper, Newton/Covington Chamber of Commerce; NCSS Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Samantha Fuhrey; Mr. Tim Schmitt, NCSS CTAE Director; Oxford College students; administrators from each high school; and many dedicated volunteers representing businesses and educational fields.

Newton County School System Work Based Learning coordinators –Ms. Debra Lary, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for NCSS and Work Based Learning Coordinator for NCCA; Ms. Loineda Dean, Career and Technical Instruction (CTI) Coordinator for NCCA; Chris Newsham, WBL & CTI Coordinator for Alcovy HS; Alisa Echols, WBL & CTI Coordinator for Eastside High School; Julie Brand, WBL Coordinator for Newton High School; Tyshema Mitchell, CTI Coordinator for Newton High School; and Jill McGiboney- WBL Support, work with the students throughout the school year to prepare them for a successful transition to higher education or the work force. 

The Work Based Learning/ Youth Apprenticeship program for Newton County Schools is offered to high school students who are 16 years or older and who have dependable transportation, along with good grades, behavior, and great teacher and counselor recommendations.  Each student must be on track to graduate and have an identified career goal. Throughout the school year, each WBL student is required to attend meetings and functions such as the AYP Dinner in order to receive a class grade. High school students interested in participating in next year’s WBL program should contact their school-based coordinator to request an application.