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Mail Call looks at four students and their career choices


For the Mail Call

Education is a key component of economic development, ac-cording to a study done by Confluence St. Louis in the mid-1990s.

Terms like continuing education have become a part of the fabric of American life along with such new realities as the fact that many Americans might change jobs several times during the course of their careers.

The Confluence St. Louis study concluded nearly 10 years ago that the St. Louis area needed to update its educational infrastructure to attract new development and retain old businesses.

But faced with finite public funding and a complicated funding formula that Missouri General Assembly has never been able to completely fund, area legislators have found it difficult to do all they would like to accomplish that goal.

This edition of the Mail Call looks at those efforts through the eyes of four area high school students to see how those efforts have helped shape career choices.

"I've always loved to draw, and art of any kind,'' Lindbergh High junior Amanda McVey told the Mail Call.

McVey has chosen to pursue a career in architecture based on her experience in the school's Computer Assisted Drafting class.

Rockwood Summit High School senior Helena Wotring wants to pursue a career in medical robotics or pharmaceutical research after her experience at her high school.

"I've known my gifted resource counselor Judy Willenbrink since I was in the first grade,'' Wotring said. "I've taken so many science courses, I know the Science Department at Summit really well. My teachers have been really supportive.''

At the same time our snapshot shows that public school students are having fun and gaining perspective as they learn.

Mehlville Senior High's Tara Weiss, a senior, chose a career as an athletic trainer after being injured in interscholastic volleyball.

"The athletic trainers I worked with had so much fun doing what they do that I got an interest in it,'' Weiss said. "The trainer here at Mehlville, you can tell that he has fun at his job. He makes it look like a fun career.''

Hands-on experience is still an important part of every curriculum.

"I've tried to concentrate on school publications just because they take up a lot of time,'' said Oakville Senior High School journalism student Shannon Burke, a senior. "They are really important to me.''

The Confluence St. Louis report stressed the importance of adaptability in basic education and warned that new employers might require skills that were not yet being taught.

But many of the career choices spotlighted in this week's edition were not part of any high school curriculum when the report was published.

For example, Lindbergh High teacher David Blackwood told the Mail Call, "We didn't have a course to meet Amanda's (Mc-Vey's) needs next year. We're getting a program called Architectural Desktop, which is a 3-D architectural program. She'll do an in-dependent study on that.''

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