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BSCTC and Allen Elementary School Partner for “My Future Fridays” Career Education

Group of Allen Elementary School Students in Classroom with a plastic tummy smiling on a table.Friday mornings just got so much better for faculty members of Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Allen Elementary (AES) middle school students! This is because they are spending time together exploring career options in beyond typical career conversations. In fact, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is much less daunting, because students are experiencing “My Future Fridays” programming. 

“My Future Fridays” is a creative collaboration that began with Principal Mike Bell and BSCTC faculty Melissa Skeens to provide hands-on activities and discussions/trainings so that students gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of certain professions. “This is far more than a program where we come into a school and just talk, talk, talk! This is about middle school students learning and growing together with a professor in a specific academic field” stated Melissa Skeens, BSCTC Future Fridays Coordinator. 

In these two-hour Friday sessions, students investigate a career field with an expert. Then, they teach the sixth and seventh graders what they have just learned. BSCTC Academic Dean Myra Elliott explained, “We know that this career education has a much higher impact when students are teaching other students, and we are so pleased that this knowledge is being absorbed by the eighth graders who, in turn, are teaching sixth and seventh grade students. These are the moments when we know the partnership is most effective. We are changing futures—together!” 

Thus far, programming has focused on respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, nursing, economics, and information technology. Future plans include criminal justice, biology, chemistry, and human services.  

The future of “Future Fridays” will include “take-aways” or projects created during the instructional sessions. For now, faculty of BSCTC are focused on providing portable laboratories, i.e., machines, mannequins, equipment in the respective field for students to experience firsthand. BSCTC plans to hold an end-of-the-year celebration of the work that has been done together. 

For more information on “My Future Fridays” please contact BSCTC Future Fridays Coordinator/Faculty Melissa Skeens at Melissa.Skeens@kctcs.edu