Student & Personnel Services: Regional Occupational Program (ROP)
Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Fosters Middle School Career Exploration at College and Career Night
“It is never too soon to talk with your child about their future.”--Bryan Wall, Director of Regional Occupational Programs (ROP), Santa Cruz County Office of Education.
In an attempt to encourage students to begin an exploration of their future career paths, middle school students were invited to participate in a scavenger hunt on the Cabrillo campus during the College and Career Night.
Senior Director of ROP Bryan Wall and Assistant Director Mark Hodges introduced the young audience and their parents to the idea of Career Technical Education and Early Career Exploration. Students viewed a video created by ROP students which shows the different career pathways that can be pursued while still in high school.
Karen Lemon, Middle School Career Exploration Outreach Coordinator, introduced the evening’s activities. A specially designed scavenger hunt was prepared to help the students locate many of the event presentations. The hunt began with students finding presentations made by high school ROP teachers, which then led them to search for post-secondary classes that are offered at Cabrillo. They had to find answers to questions regarding financial aid and four year universities. The big question of the evening was “What can I do now to prepare myself for my future?”
Over 75 participants rushed off to find clues to their futures and explore the campus. An excited group of students and parents returned to check in and share their findings.
“I liked the Culinary Arts and Law Enforcement!” “I liked learning about how to get into colleges.” "I liked… the cooking area and how they made the figures that they put on the cakes like bears, flowers, etc.” "I liked seeing the physics table in the library.”
The parent of a New Brighton student commented “I loved the opportunity to share the information with my daughter. It was a great first step.” Likewise, a parent of a Cesar Chavez Middle School student said, “The thing that I liked most was that my child had the opportunity to see many different careers that he can choose. This will make him think more about what he really wants to be in the future.”
The students then entered in a raffle for items donated by local businesses. Prize donors were The Board Room and Harmonix!
We wish to enthusiastically state that all had a great time learning about the Regional Occupational Programs and the classes that are offered by Cabrillo College, Future Career Options and four year colleges and universities.
College and Career presenters were excited to see the youthful audience and feel that this opportunity to inform middle school students of the many secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities will increase their chances of success in school and future careers.
Thank you to ROP student photographers from Renaissance High School, Corina Mejia and Yobany Diaz, for the photographs accompanying this article.