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Draft Day

Fifty students from across District 49 participated in the Choice and Success Draft Day at Sand Creek High School on Saturday, April 27.

Draft day interviews

Draft Day, from our Work-Based Learning program, gave students the opportunity to engage in a series of brief, speed-dating-style interviews with local businesses. Each interview session lasted 12 minutes, allowing the business partners to quickly assess the potential fit with the candidates.

“Draft Day is a day aimed at connecting local business partners with talented students seeking opportunities such as internships, apprenticeships, or career positions,” said Kelsey Grimaldo, Choice and Success Program Manager for D49. “The primary goal of Draft Day is to provide our students with valuable exposure to industry professionals, giving them the chance to showcase their skills and personalities. By fostering these connections, we aim to open the doors for our students, helping them secure meaningful employment opportunities within the local business community.”

“Experiences like draft days are a win-win for high school juniors and seniors,” said Sean Norman, Director of Applied and Advanced Learning. “They provide valuable preparation for the future while also increasing students' chances of success in college or careers. Draft days mimic real-world scenarios, giving students a taste of professional settings, interview attire, and communication expectations. This helps them build confidence, refine interview skills, and manage nerves in interviews or college admissions meetings.”

SCHS Choice and Success Advisor Stephen McCreary said, “In preparing for this event students are improving their resume writing skills, interviewing skills through mock interviews with our business partners and SCHS staff. They have the opportunity to interact with professionals in a controlled setting. In today’s society with most students having cell phones and the use of social media, face-to-face communication skills are becoming a lost skill. These are skills they will use for the rest of their lives.”

Draft Day started when Grimaldo saw a lack of student interaction at a job fair. 

“Many students simply wandered around the tables, grabbing candy without engaging with the potential employers, and unfortunately, no students were hired following the event,” she said. “The business partners indicated that they felt their time was not well spent.”

On Saturday, each student participated in at least two interviews with the 20 businesses in attendance. 

Grimlado said, “We placed 15 students in apprenticeships at our last Draft Day in December and hope to place many more this time around.”

John DeLuke with National Electrical Contractors Association said, “This by far has been the best event I have participated in, and these were some of the best students I've ever interviewed, they were prepared and everyone had resumes in hand.”

With Draft Day, students not only spend time preparing their resumes and having interviews, they get to work on interpersonal skills. 

“Students started the day with a pre-game workshop, in which they learned how to engage with interviewers,” said Heidi Cephus, Vista Ridge High School Choice and Success Advisor. “ They also participated in a "Bringing Your A Game" workshop, where they focus on personal and professional skills that will make them successful in today's workplace.”

Draft Day training

Cephus brought about 20 students from VRHS to participate in Draft Day. 

CJ Jilek, Grounds Department Group Manager for D49, participated in Draft Day looking for part-time summer help and said he was impressed with how prepared the students were for the interviews. 

“They had resumes and questions ready for me,” he said.

The event itself was also useful in his hiring process. 

“Where Draft Day really helped me, where it was efficient, is that kids from all the high schools could come to one event, and I could interview the kids that were interested in our jobs,” Jilek said. “Where I struggled in the past was getting to all the schools to talk to the juniors and seniors about our summer positions.”

Of the six students he interviewed, Jilek gave Grimaldo the names of four of them and asked her to make sure they officially apply for the summer jobs because he was interested in hiring them.

“Our community continually asks us how we are preparing students for their future after high school. Draft Day is a direct response to that question,” Cephus said.

McCreary said, “Draft Day ties education and a student’s career together. It demonstrates the link between what you are learning in school to the business world.”

 

Joel Quevillon