High school is a challenging time for kids: they are experiencing incredible emotional growth while handling the stress of making decisions around careers and what to do following graduation. As if high school wasn’t stressful enough, it is especially difficult when the students live in a very rural, low socio-economic community. These are exactly the kids I teach in Haynesville, Louisiana.
Over the years I have taught everything from Education for Careers and Customer Service, to Sociology and Law, to World Geography and History. The majority of my students come from single-parent homes that struggle to make ends-meet, and most feel they have limited future options because of their circumstances. For my students, making life choices and defining career goals felt almost impossible due to the lack of exposure they’ve had outside our small community; but not anymore.
Two years ago I joined Nepris. Since then, my students have been able to explore the outside world without leaving the classroom, which is monumental for those of us in rural communities without funds for travel. I try to utilize Nepris in my classroom on a biweekly basis, and have completed more than 30 sessions ranging from physical therapists to diesel mechanics. One classroom favorite was a marriage and family counselor - there was so much interest in this topic that we asked the presenter to speak with us again the next week, and he did! These connections open new doors for my students while bringing an excitement and interest to my students that I have never seen!
Nepris has changed not only the way I operate my classroom, but also my students’ mindsets and daily engagement. They have made contact with and been exposed to so many careers, individuals, and experiences that otherwise would not have been possible. The professionals we’ve connected with gave students much needed direction and in many cases solidified career goals. I truly value the opportunities offered to my students through Nepris, and always look forward to witnessing how our next connection will impact them even more.