Fort High students filled up the cafeteria on Thursday morning to show their classmates and teachers the work they’ve been doing at their co-op placements.
Each semester the school hosts a “Co-op Display Day” and around 50 students showcased their experiences from this semester.
“The benefit of taking a co-op is you can confirm a career choice,” said FFHS teacher Sarah Arpin, who spearheads the co-op program.
“If a student knows that they want to or are thinking that they want to be a teacher and they get into a classroom, it might be something they realize is really rewarding and exactly what they want to do.”
The co-op program also helps student determine if the area of study their placement is related to isn’t something they want to pursue after they graduate high school.
“In both cases it can be really beneficial because then they can go down a different path and figure out what other skills they have and what they want to pursue,” Arpin explained.
Grade 12 student, Braedon Bodnarchuk is doing his placement with the Hockey Academy at the Memorial Sports Centre, where he helps teach a grade 7/8 class from the high school.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher so being with the kids and teaching my knowledge and passing it down to younger students has been awesome,” he said.
Bodnarchuk told the Times it’s fun to get out on the ice with the younger students and as a Muskie player, teaching hockey is a great way to utilize his talent on the ice.
“We do a bunch of different hockey drills, building basic kind of hockey skills that will help them out in the long run,” he said.
Jeff Ogden teaches the Grade 7/8 class and Bodnarchuk said he’s taught him a great deal on how to run drills in a way that the students can easily understand.
Bodnarchuk also noted that after graduation he hopes to pursue a career in education.
“It’s always been my goal and I’ve always been really passionate about teaching and spreading my knowledge and anything I know to help people become better,” he remarked.
Fellow Fort High student, Jacy Gagne, has been doing her placement at the Fort Frances Dental Centre where she shadows the dental staff.
Her favourite part about the placement is her interaction with patients and getting to watch dental procedures.
Through Gagne’s work with the dental centre this semester, she learned a lot about the importance of maintaining good oral health as it can effect the rest of the body as whole.
Going forward she said she hopes to study dental hygiene and assisting in British Colombia, where her relatives live.
Gagne said she recommends the co-op program to any student who’s trying to figure out their plans after high school.
“If you’re unsure of what you want to do, and you like what you’re doing in the co-op, then you get confirmation that it’s what you want to pursue,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Grade 12 student Kylee Keith did her placement at the Rainy River Veterinarian Hospital in International Falls, with a focus on dental care.
She learned about how gum diseases and gingivitis effects dogs, especially when they’re teeth aren’t properly cared for by their owners.
“I learned how to brush a dog’s teeth and I learned that you have to brush their teeth daily,” Keith said.
She told the Times she also learned to never use human tooth paste when brushing a dog’s teeth as it can be toxic.
Arpin said through the co-op program there has been many success stories for students.
“We have a lot of students that actually end up getting a part-time job out of their co-op experiences and some people have gotten apprenticeships as well,” she noted.
Other students who did their placements and went off to post secondary school have secured jobs where they did their placement after completing their studies, according to Aprin.
She said it’s important to note that Fort High has placements of all kinds, including the trades, education, and healthcare.
“There’s such a wide range of placements, and our goal is to try to find something that’s as close to what the students have in mind to see if they can gain that hands on experience,” she explained.
The students who are currently doing their placements will finish up in late January, before the start of exams.