Guest Reporters:

Liseli Fragozo & Chris Martinez

Kilgore Middle School Job Shadows

Kilgore Middle School students gained on-the-job experience in a variety of careers Wednesday as they shadowed local professionals and received hands-on training in a variety of jobs.

Job Shadow Day is an annual opportunity for Kilgore students to explore career options, educational opportunities and to gain ideas about possible career choices.

Two KMS students, Gabriela and Emily Jimenez, got to take a close look at an up-and-coming business while spending time with some four-legged friends.

Early Wednesday, the eighth-graders were helping Michelle Finley bathe and groom dogs at Howl-A-Day Inn, a dog boarding service that also provides “spa treatments for dogs.

“Basically, that's what we do all day, play with dogs and have fun! Finley said.

As Gabriela and Emily helped Finley trim Tinkerbell's (one of the the guests at the Howl-A-Day Inn) nails, Finley explained she started her business last September after spending 12 years at a Kilgore veterinary office.

“Because I worked at the vet clinic, you know, that's the animal health side. You're dealing with them being sick or getting shots, doing things that the dog doesn't really enjoy. On this side of it, it's more the fun side. I get to watch them play, run and have fun and enjoy themselves versus being at the doctor being scared, Finley said, adding she wanted her business to provide a local option for people who want something more special than the average kennel.

“Dogs to deserve to have fun and play too and also get pampered and have spa day, she said, as she, Emily and Gabriela prepared for a long day of bathing, grooming and pampering their furry guests.

At Kilgore High School, counselor Courtney Clements was showing Isaac Gutierrez some of her daily responsibilities.

“We have to make sure that people are taking the classes that they need to graduate and we give them college and career guidance, lead them on the way and push them out of the nest, Clements said.

Clements, who has been in education for 22 years, said being a counselor requires a lot of flexibility. She taught math before becoming a counselor and she works with students at all grade levels in the high school.

“We have two counselors for all 1,100 kids so we wear a lot of hats, she said.

Her favorite part of the job?

“Oh, the kids, getting to talk to them. It's a lot of fun helping them.

Students Jason Silvey and Matthew Tyeskie were also at KHS learning about a different side of the educational experience: coaching and athletics.

Teacher and assistant coach Rafe Mata guided the students as they helped classes of their peers participate in games and physical activity.

On Wednesday, students were playing a game more familiar in the U.K. than in Kilgore.

“The first two periods, they did what we do. They kept score for the cricket game. They actually picked up on it pretty easy. That's not an easy game to pick up on. It's not one of those things you see a whole lot of and they actually picked up on how to keep score and what the rules were. I gave them third period off, they get to play now, Mata said.

Mata's job shadow students led peers through three periods of Human Performance classes and were preparing for a big event.

“Tthen we go to athletics, Mata said. “We have our competition today. They'll help me set that up, they'll get an aspect of what we do down there once classes are over with.

Student Marisa Barrand was shadowing her mom, Carrie Russell, at The Willows of Kilgore Senior Living.

It was Russell's first time participating in a job shadow experience but said her daughter frequently helped her on the job in her spare time.

“So far, so good, Russell said of the job shadow experience with her daughter. “She's asking questions, kind of going through everything that she hears about every day.

Barrand shadowed at the Willows on a busy day; Russell was covering for a receptionist that had moved on to another job while also handling all her HR responsibilities, which include managing new hire paperwork, employee insurance and setting up payroll deductions.

Despite the busy atmosphere, Barrand was enjoying her time on the job.

“I like it, I'm up here all the time anyways so I already know everybody, she said. Barrand plans on working with children in the future and shadowing at the Willows put her in touch with helpful resources.

“She wants to be a social worker, so she's visited quite a bit with our social worker here, Russell said.

Russell said her favorite thing about the job was getting to help people and her daughter enjoyed talking with the residents.

“She says they have a lot of neat stories, Russell said.

Two more KMS students, Liseli Fragozo and Chris Martinez, helped the Kilgore News Herald cover the events across town.

“I liked it a lot because it gave me an idea what journalism is actually going to be like and it was a lot of fun, Fragozo said.

“It was fun and entertaining while we learned how the career will affect us, Martinez said.

Kilgore News Herald

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