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Morris students get past of job, life skills

MORRIS – If you’re on a job interview, there are a few rules you should follow. Dress appropriately in dress pants, button-up shirt and tie; have a good firm handshake; make good eye contact; and don’t ask your interviewer to dinner.

On Tuesday, after a morning of state testing, freshmen and sophomores at Morris Community High School had a day of learning other life skills beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

“It’s a chance for students to get real-life experience,” Principal Kelly Hussey said.

Because testing took up the morning, it shortened the day for classes, he said. With the career day activities, students were able to learn without shortened academic lessons.

In the auditorium, teacher Ben Brown gave a presentation to freshman on how to dress and act at a job interview. Students practiced proper posture, how to shake hands and how to dress for an interview. For example, they learned about matching their belt, shoes and pants.

Two pairs of students on stage acted out the right and wrong ways to go about finding a job in the mode of Goofus and Gallant: one wore pajama pants, the other dress slacks. One had a limp handshake, the other firm. One asked his interviewer on a date, the other discussed the job he was interviewing for.

“Don’t ask your interviewer out to dinner,” Brown said after the students in the auditorium laughed.

In the Field House, social science teacher Keith Anderson had resurrected an old program: the Reality Store. Students chose a profession, told what their income was, and then had to find a way to manage their budget while purchasing the necessities – insurance, real estate, cellphones.

Matt Seidel, a coach at the school was also at the store representing Country Financial. He said it was a great program for the students.

“Reality is a tough thing to deal with,” he said. He said he was happy to help the kids learn about the program.

Anderson said he had gone through the program when he was a student at MCHS, but that it had fallen away since. He said this was the first year they were doing it more than 10 years.

“This is a great opportunity,” he said “This is a great way to see what real life is like month to month.”

Other programs on that day included college presenters and a visit from a workforce development group from Joliet Junior College.

Juniors took their tests in the morning, Hussey said, but were not in school afterward. Seniors did not attend school on Tuesday. Both groups of students were encouraged to use the time to prepare for college or career after high school.

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