Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education members who attended a business lunch Thursday at Great Bend High School heard a report on the success of the new internship program that began in 2022.
Lacy Wolters, ACT/career coordinator at GBHS, said the school board approved the program last February and instructors immediately began looking for juniors and commercial partners who could participate in the 2022-2023 school year.
“Last year we had 14 young people apply,” he said. “Everyone was part of the biomedical (career) path or our building and design path.”
To recruit businesses, students participated in a “reverse job fair”.
“A typical job fair is when employers are set up looking for employees. On the flip side, our students were put on the lookout for host partners,” Wolters said. The editorial department printed poster-sized resumes and students set up trifold displays to give a bit of their background. and their results Business partners came to the event and met with them.
“I was really proud of these students,” Wolters said. “We had a business partner who wasn’t entirely sure this would be a good fit for their organization and after meeting with the students he said, ‘You know what, we have to do this.’ Eventually they 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 a full-time employee 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 had always been interested in HVAC, 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 to work there last summer, the day after leaving school.
Wolters’ second success story for the presentation, GBHS Sr. Madelynn Gregg, who has an internship with the University of Kansas Health System, was there to speak to the school board in person.
While DeWitt’s internship was more hands-on, internships with the University of Kansas health care 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 they may be thinking about. They spend time in emergency rooms, surgery, labor and delivery. They will also handle maintenance, advertising, compliance, ordering and supply chain management.
“I wanted to get into the medical field, but I had no idea what area I wanted to get into,” Gregg said. “From this experience, I’ve narrowed it down to areas I want to get into, so I have a better idea for going to college.
“Something I’ve found really important about this whole experience is that I’ve gotten to know all the jobs that make up the hospital,” she said. “A lot of people think about doctors, nurses, that sort of thing. There are so many people behind the scenes who are so important to how it works and it has been really amazing to see all of this and learn about it.
“Another interesting thing for me was that I was taking a CNA college course while I was doing this internship and I could see the crossover between everything. I was learning something in class and then I saw it happen in my internship, so I understood what was going on,” she said.
Gregg said he also learned the importance of first impressions.
“In this internship you meet new people every single day. So it’s a first impression every single day. I’m a bit of a shy person, but I had to go in and introduce myself to new people every day and find a way to talk to them in a professional way, making sure I was doing my best for myself and the school. ”
Culinary arts experience
Thursday’s lunch was hosted by the culinary arts students in family and consumer science teacher Katherine Hekele’s class. They prepared an appetizer of caprese and salami and cheese skewers; greens that included ratatouille and caesar salad with house-made croutons and dressing; a main course of lasagna soup with garlic bread; and apple-cinnamon squares for dessert. They also served lemonade and water.
The 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.
Under action points, the board approved the following personnel changes:
• William Dutton, a sixth-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary, will step down at the end of the school year.
• Tammie Buckbee will teach special education at Ellinwood. You have previously worked through the Transition to Teaching program.
Checks and contributions
The board has resolved to accept the following grants and contributions:
Three $500 TGIF Credit Union Grants: to Brian Williams of Great Bend Middle School; Nikki Taylor, also of GBMS; and to Cristina Montes of GBHS Mariachi (for the El Sol dresses).
• $279.27 in GBHS Orchestra Prizes from GB Custard Operations (Freddy’s)
• $148.10 in prizes for Jefferson Elementary from Box Tops
The Education Foundation of $428 contributed the following in a continuous flow: Patricia A. Schmidt Memorial Donor Advised Fund – Park Elementary – $250 in cash and $250 worth of gift certificates; and Greg & Susan Bauer Children’s Health Endowment Fund – $433 for student lunch bills.
• The GBHS orchestra department received a $600 performance grant from Investment Advantage.
• GBMS Booster Club contributed $1,000 to GBMS for the Panther Buck Store.
• The GBMS Booster Club contributed $223 towards the purchase of a 12-year perpetual GBMS Spelling Bee Champion plaque.
• Marmie Motors contributed $850 to the GBHS Activities Department for the Panther Football team for 17 touchdowns.
• Trinity United Methodist Church’s United Women in Faith group contributed $500 to Lincoln Elementary to support the needs of students in the hope they know they are appreciated and loved.