By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As part of the Careers Technology Foundations options, Irvine School is now offering all junior high students Life Skills with Certifications. Courses will become available at different times of the school year with a combined babysitting/emergency first-aid and a firearms/hunter education safety courses underway.
Principal Trent Rayner has wanted to run certification courses for a few years and mentioned the idea to teacher Linda Kraft, who ran with it.
“We’ve been valuing and getting more and more community partnerships, so another partnership developed between us and Safety Buzz through Linda setting that up,” Rayner said. “We are working with them to make sure most of our junior high students will leave this year being certified in something they can either use practically, for their portfolio or on their resume – anything to help them get a job and help them in real life.”
The first-aid/babysitting course is full and has a waiting list. Rayner wasn’t sure about it, as the course, while valuable, can be dry, but is pleased with the response. It speaks to how the students are responsible enough to see the value in the course along with knowing how it will set them apart from other junior high students when it comes to getting their first job.
“The amazing thing is these kids are picking certifications right now when they could be taking other courses, such as active living or low-organized games. That is what has surprised me so far about this,” said Rayner.
Kraft is excited LSC has taken off so well, with double-digit numbers enrolled in both courses currently offered.
“I put it out to the kids so anything they are interested in and anything parents see might be a benefit, we are happy to take a look at it,” stated Kraft. “There are so many times when kids or parents say, ‘Too bad you didn’t learn that in school.’ We are offering these real-life skills courses, especially the emergency first-aid, that every single individual can use and could potentially be required for their part-time jobs moving forward.
“In my health class it ties in nicely because we do portfolios and resume, career/job type stuff, so this is something to help fill their resume.”
Grade 9 students Odin Jordet, Ethan Bowey and Parker Bellamy all enrolled in the babysitting/first-aid LSC. All three play a variety of sports and enjoy being active, and they are all taking the course with the goal of a well-paid lifeguard job. First-aid is required before they can complete their Bronze Cross in swimming, a prerequisite for the lifeguarding certificate.
“It’s a good course to have,” stated Jordet. “It will look good on a resume. It’s cheaper (to take) in school and then I don’t have to use my personal time that I like to spend doing sports.”
Bowey also said it will look good on his resume for future jobs.
“You need to get your first-aid before you can go do your Bronze Cross, they made that mandatory this year. I’m going to see how far this gets me because it says you need your full first-aid, but I’m going to see if this course gives you a full one,” stated Bowey, who is also interested in the boating course that will be offered later in the year.
Bellamy talked about how useful first-aid is in a rural environment where an ambulance could be 90 minutes away or HALO needs to be called. He said all but two of the boys in the class have babysat before.
“I think it’s because most of us have younger siblings. There are people south of us who have little kids and if you get into a wreck with cattle or something, you gotta go babysit for a bit because it’s hard to pack a four- or five-year-old on a horse,” explained Bellamy.
Driver’s education, referee certification for volleyball and basketball, a boating and water safety course as well as financial literacy are being looked at as future courses. Further down the road, the school is looking into life-skills classes that might not have a certification but are no less useful.
“How many kids, including my own, know how to sew a button onto a shirt or change a tire? Things I know they should know. If my kids or these kids could come home with 12 different life skills, simple as that, that would help so much moving forward,” concluded Rayner.