Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education members who attended a luncheon meeting Thursday at Great Bend High School heard a report on the success of the new internship program that started in 2022.
Lacy Wolters, ACT/career coordinator at GBHS, recalled that the school board approved the program last February and instructors immediately began looking for juniors and business partners who could participate in the 2022-2023 school year.
“We had 14 juniors last year submit applications,” she said. “All of them were part of either the biomedical (career) pathway or our construction and design pathway.”
To recruit businesses, students participated in a “reverse job fair.”
“A typical job fair is when employers are set up looking for employees. The reverse aspect of that is that our students were set up looking for host partners,” Wolters said. The drafting department printed poster-size resumes and students set up trifold displays to give a bit of their background and accomplishments. Business partners came to the event and met with them.
“I was really proud of these students,” Wolters said. “We had one business partner who wasn’t quite sure that this would be a fit for their organization and after she met the students she said, ‘You know what, we need to do this.’ They ultimately ended up hosting four of our interns.”
Business partners included Advanced Therapy and Sports Medicine, Animal Medical Center, Comfort Pro, Fuller Industries, Schroeder Homes and Remodeling, Stueder Contractors and the University of Kansas Health System - Great Bend Campus.
Wolters shared two success stories, the first being Drew DeWitt, who graduated from GBHS in December and is now employed full-time at Comfort Pro.
“Drew came to me last spring interested in an internship,” she said. “He knew that maybe going the traditional route like a university just wasn’t for him.”
He’d always been interested in the HVAC industry so the school set up an interview with Comfort Pro. The interview went well, so while most interns started their work-based-learning programs in the fall, he started work there last summer – the day after school dismissed.
Wolters's second success story for the presentation, GBHS senior Madelynn Gregg, who has an internship with the University of Kansas Health System, was there to address the school board in person.
While DeWitt’s internship was more hands-on, internships with the University of Kansas Health System were more observational, Wolters said. “Our students actually rotate through every department in the hospital system. They see everything, not just those health-related careers that maybe they’re thinking of. They are spending time in ER, surgery, labor and delivery. They’re also going to maintenance and advertising and compliance and ordering, and supply chain management.”
“I wanted to go into the medical field but I had no clue which area I wanted to go into,” Gregg said. “From this experience, I narrowed it down to which areas I want to go into, so I have a better idea going into college.
“Something I found really important about this whole experience was that I got to learn about all the jobs that make up the hospital,” she said. “A lot of people think of doctors, nurses, that kind of stuff. There are so many people behind the scenes that are so important to its functioning and it was really incredible to get to see all of that and get to learn about that.
“Another cool thing for me was, I was taking a CNA college class while I was taking this internship and I got to see the crossover between everything. I was learning about something in class and then I was watching it happen in the internship, so I understood what was going on,” she said.
Gregg said she learned the importance of first impressions as well.
“In this internship, you’re meeting new people every single day. So it’s a first impression every single day. I’m kind of a shy person but I had to go in and present myself to new people every day and find a way to talk to them in a professional manner, making sure I was putting my best foot forward for myself and the school.”
Culinary arts experience
Thursday's lunch was provided by the culinary arts students in the class of Family & Consumer Science Teacher Katherine Hekele. They prepared an appetizer of caprese and salami and cheese skewers; vegetables that included ratatouille and caesar salad with homemade croutons and dressing; a main course of lasagna soup with garlic bread; and apple cinnamon squares for dessert. They also served lemonade and water.
Participating students were Adison Gaulsha, Berenise Ochoa, Catie Haberman, Charley Sander, Elizabeth Dominguez, Parker Emma Isaac, Harley Dougherty, Jalen Daniels, Jordan Angel, Kamryn Johns, Kaylea Vette, Levi Stevens, Reagan Huslig and Reaunna Robinson.
In action items, the board approved the following personnel changes:
• William Dutton, sixth-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary, will resign at the end of the school year.
• Tammie Buckbee will teach special education in Ellinwood. She has already been working through the Transition to Teaching Program.
Grants and contributions
The board voted to accept the following grants and contributions:
• Three $500 Credit Union TGIF Grants: To Brian Williams at Great Bend Middle School, Nikki Taylor, also at GBMS; and to Cristina Montes at GBHS Mariachi (for El Sol dresses).
• $279.27 in reward incentives to GBHS Orchestra from GB Custard Operations (Freddy’s)
• $148.10 in reward incentives to Jefferson Elementary from Box Tops
The USD 428 Education Foundation has contributed the following flow-through contributions: Patricia A. Schmidt Memorial Donor Advised Fund - Park Elementary - $250 cash, and gift cards valued at $250; and Greg & Susan Bauer Children’s Health Endowment Fund - $433 for student lunch accounts.
• GBHS orchestra department received a $600 performance contribution from Investment Advantage.
• GBMS Booster Club contributed $1,000 to GBMS for the Panther Buck Store.
• GBMS Booster Club contributed $223 to purchase a 12-year GBMS Spelling Bee Champion perpetual plaque.
• Marmie Motors contributed $850 to the GBHS Activities Department for the Panther Football team for the 17 touchdowns.
• The United Women in Faith group from Trinity United Methodist Church contributed $500 to Lincoln Elementary to support student needs in the hope that they know they are valued and loved.