The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

Six-District Compact career programs provide opportunity for all

The+Modern+Communications+and+Media+Production+career+students+pose+for+a+photo+while+at+the+Career+Fair.+
Ava Tallat-Kelpsa
The Modern Communications and Media Production career students pose for a photo while at the Career Fair.

On January 18th, sophomore students had their scheduling seminar and the chance to explore the six-district programs at the Career Fair. Each year, students travel from booth to booth to talk to current students recruiting for their career program. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to get a taste of the offered programs and sign up for a tour of the programs they are intrigued by. The fair has been a hit for many years; a handful of Hudson students who participate in a career program first heard about their program at this fair. 

These career programs are run through the Six-District Compact: a connection between six public school districts in Northeast Ohio. The schools represented are Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge and Woodridge. The most highly regarded benefit of this compact is the career programs, which are open to all upperclassmen in any of the school districts. The programs are held at one (or occasionally two) high schools within the compact. Some students may be attending programs at their original high school, but most travel to a different district for their program. 

When visiting the fair, five students from different programs shared their experiences in a career program. Many of them had positive things to say.

Maddie Alberts, a junior from Tallmadge, is a part of the Biotechnology career program offered at Woodridge. She aspires to be a neurologist or geneticist, so she knew this program would be perfect for her. “This career program is just really geared towards my interests. Also, I love the sciences, and this has a lot of high-level science classes.” The class has some traditional work, but it makes experiential learning the priority. “We do notes about every other day, but we also do about one lab a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. Those help us have a lot of hands-on learning.”

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If you aren’t interested in pursuing STEM after high school, you can always try something more creative, like the Cosmetology career program. Amanda Whelan, a junior from Hudson, participates in this program at Kent-Roosevelt. “I chose this program because I thought it would be really rewarding. I will be licensed [in cosmetology] by the end of my senior year, which will be very useful.” Unfortunately, no cosmetology classes are offered at Hudson, so students have to learn the basic steps through the program. “We have textbooks, and we also do theory and labs. In labs, we do haircutting, nails, chemical services, perming, relaxing, facials and waxing; there’s a bunch of parts.” 

Maybe you’d prefer to perform on a stage or work behind the scenes for a theatrical production. Johannah Skaggs, a senior from Cuyahoga Falls, is involved in the Theater Arts career program at Tallmadge. “I chose this program because I really enjoy acting. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and very passionate about. This program allows me to harness this skill.” There’s more than just acting to this program, though, since it also teaches about the pre-acting preparations. “We have acting technique and screen acting classes, but also script analysis, stagecraft and scenic design.” 

Another way to hone production skills is by focusing on technology and media. Dylan Moore, a junior from Kent, is in the Modern Communications and Media Production career program at Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls. “I’ve always had a passion for film, editing and cinematography. I wanted to learn how to film and actually use a camera, especially since I had just gotten one for Christmas but didn’t yet have the skills to use it.” The class dives deeper into the many different forms of media and communications. “We do podcasts every other week. We have a journalism and writing class. We get to write scripts and put our creations on our local radio at Cuyahoga Falls. We also get to do different, little activities like writing a children’s book and creating an audiobook for it.”

The last student, Sean Huff, a senior from Hudson, goes to Stow for the Culinary Arts career program. Unlike the other program participants, his interest in joining the program was somewhat more basic. “Initially, I was just hungry. Signing up sounded like a good idea.” Instead of written assignments and tests, the class mostly entails of constant cooking. “For example, last Monday was like our traditional day. My teacher showed us how to make baklava, showed us an example and then let us do it ourselves. She would then go around and give us any help or tips. That’s pretty much it.” 

The topics of these career programs may significantly vary, but the premise behind them is all the same. Six-district programs aim to prepare students for a career in their program’s specialty by giving them the baseline knowledge and hands-on experience to help them succeed in that field. It’s not a surprise that all the interviewed students plan to pursue a career related to their program. For example, Sean is going to the Culinary Institute of America next year to further his culinary studies. Johannah plans to attend college for acting/teaching and teach the career program once her current teacher retires. 

As expected, the career programs have made all the students more interested in their career fields. Maddie shares, “the program has definitely made me more interested in biotech. Seeing all the different things you can do in labs is really cool.” Additionally, Amanda says, “I want to be a cosmetologist. The class has definitely made me more motivated to go to college for a business and/or teaching degree so I can either teach it or start my own business.”

Students from the Theater Arts career program stand alongside a dress created in their costume design class. (Ava Tallat-Kelpsa)

A noteworthy part of being in a career program is how it completely changes a student’s schedule. Their day is split between two schools, so transportation time has to be accounted for. For example, Dylan thinks that the price of gas with the extra driving isn’t the best but that “seeing new schools and putting yourself into areas and places help you in the long run because you aren’t going to stay in the same place you’re whole life. It’s good to move places and get out of your comfort zone.” Sean shares that “if you would like to get certain class periods off, or an extended lunch or go home early…career programs typically let you have those. I’m out of school by 2 o’clock each day.”

The majority of students must attend a new school for their career program, which can feel a bit daunting if they don’t know anyone at that school yet. All students went through similar emotional experiences when going to their new school. It seemed a bit scary for each student going to the new school since it was unfamiliar. But it was smooth sailing once their class had bonded and they got into a typical routine.

Since career programs are a two-year commitment with the same students, it’s essential that the students bond with each other for class to be exciting. Luckily, the students share that their classes (for the most part) get along, and the friends they’ve made are one of the best parts of the program. Plus, with the smaller class sizes, it’s easier for the students to build a connection with each other. For example, in the media program, Dylan shares, “I’ve met really good friends in it. The people in the program have the same passions as me. I feel like that’s really hard to find these days. The whole group has similar interests to me, so I can talk to them about those and still goof around with them.” In the culinary program, Sean mentions that the class has helped him meet many new people. “One of my best friends is from Kent. I’ve got Stow buddies and friends in Tallmadge who all attend our program. I’ve even become friends with some people that aren’t in the program but participate in other programs at Stow and the other six-district schools.” 

If a student on the fence about joining a career program is worried about the homework for the class, there’s only a small amount, if any. For cosmetology, Amanda claims, “we don’t get very much homework. It’s usually just if you don’t finish something in class, then you have to go finish it at home, which doesn’t happen too often if you’re efficient.” For theater arts, Johannah says, “there’s definitely not really any. Sometimes there is some reading you have to do. You get it assigned to you at the beginning of the week, and it will be due at the end or maybe a few weeks later. But that’s really about it.”

If this article has piqued your interest in one of the featured career programs, consider checking the program out! By the time this article is published, application deadlines may have already passed for the class of 2025, but younger grades can apply when they start scheduling for their junior year. These programs can be life-changing and set many students up for the future, and it’s worth taking the Career Fair seriously when given the opportunity to talk with current students. For more information on the career programs offered through the six-district compact, you can view all the options at https://sixdistrict.com/files/Compactcatalog.pdf.

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About the Contributor
Ava Tallat-Kelpsa, Editor-in-Chief
Ava Tallat-Kelpsa is a senior in her fourth and final year of writing for The Explorer. As well as the newspaper, she’s involved with the Model United Nations team, Writing Club, Chamber Choir, Summit Choral Society, teaching PSR and interning at Destination Hudson. In her limited free time, she enjoys traveling, reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and buying more than necessary at garage sales. After high school, Ava plans to pursue journalism and creative writing at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
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