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Courtesy photo. Dr. Jim Duncan talks with Chelsea High School students during the Lunchtime Career Talks program.

Courtesy photo. Laura Wetzel speaks to Chelsea High School students.

By Lisa Carolin

The school year may be over, but the Lunchtime Career Talks have left a lasting impression on many Chelsea High School students.

The weekly program began in the 2016-17 school year with help from the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, the Chelsea Rotary Club and Chelsea Kiwanis Club. It was the idea of school counselor Daniela Bickel with help from Jon Andrews, also a school counselor. Bickel was a new counselor in Chelsea, who ran a similar program when she was a counseling intern in Dexter working with her supervisor, Gerry Holmes, who’d run a similar program.

“A focus on career exposure and exploration is an integral part of our comprehensive school counseling program,” said Bickel. “Giving students a venue where they can ask questions to different professionals and learn about a variety of occupations can lead to personal growth and students making connections between academics and the world of work. In addition, sometimes job shadowing and internship opportunities can arise from these encounters.”

Attendance at the lunches was evenly split among all four grade levels at the high school.

“We tried to have a mix of careers that students expressed a strong interest in,” said Bickel.

Presenters’ occupations included various types of engineering, cybersecurity, physical therapy, social work, law, financial planning, sports, medicine, banking, and graphic design.

Bickel said that teacher Steven Hinz offered his space in the choir room for the weekly event, and Food Service Director Carrie Hall provided pizza, salad, fruit and cookies at a good price.

“The program was very successful as demonstrated by the fact that we consistently had between 50 and 60 students attending, when adding up all three lunches,” said Bickel. “The vast majority of students indicated they found this program helpful and that they enjoyed it. They would like for the program to continue next year and gave suggestions for careers to include in the future.”

Bickel expects Lunchtime Career Talks to resume in the fall and is hoping more people in the community will reach out to come speak to students about their occupations.

She can be reached at dbickel@chelsea.k12.mi.us and Andrews can be reached at jandrews@chelsea.k12.us. They can be reached by telephone beginning the last week of August at 734-433-2201 ext. 1016 and 1013.

“It is a wonderful experience for presenters to interact with our students and to strengthen the bond between the Chelsea community and the high school,” Bickel said.

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