Students from across Georgia recently attended the first annual Emmanuel College/Georgia High School High Tech Agriculture Camp. The camp was held the week of July 16-20 on the campus of Emmanuel College along with tour stops across Northeast Georgia. The purpose of the camp was to introduce 11th and 12 grade students to careers in Agriculture, college life and after school opportunities.
The Agriculture Camp was sponsored by the Georgia High School High Tech Program and the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency along with support from Senators Frank Ginn and John Wilkinson. Campers stayed in the dorm and attended informational sessions each day along with leadership activities and games. Kaitlyn Marchant, Morgan County Agriculture Instructor; Karen Royston, Executive Director for Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; Mallory Peek, High School High Tech Facilitator; and Owen Thomason, Agriculture Department Head at Emmanuel College, conducted the camp.
The students visited several agriculture related sites in the Northeast Georgia area including: Jaemor Farms, Franklin County Livestock Sales, Stone Creek Hydroponics, King Farms, Jan and Zen Farm, Royston Animal Hospital, Mountain Fresh Creamery and Glo-Crest Dairy. At each site the students learned more about the agricultural industry while getting hands on experience in careers. Dr. Jonathan Howell, Assistant Professor at Emmanuel College also led the students in an agriscience research project during the camp.
Students attending the camp this year were from: Valdosta High School, Elbert County Comprehensive High School, West Laurens High School and Westover High School in Dougherty County.
The students participating in the Columbia County and Burke County High School High Tech Program toured Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia on October 31. The students were given a tour of the facility and a presentation on nuclear energy by the Plant Vogtle staff. They were also given information about careers in nuclear energy as well as expectations of employers. The tour was very interactive with students asking a lot of questions about nuclear energy and career opportunities.
The Fitzgerald High School students toured Albany State University Campus. The ASU student ambassadors gave the tour of the campus. They discussed programs and student life, along with the admissions process and disability assistance programs. The students then received lunch from Asahi Express.
We are excited to announce that the Georgia High School High Tech Program has been selected as a Zero Project Innovative Practice for 2017. The Georgia High School High Tech Program was nominated for this recognition by our partners at AMAC. This year, 260 innovative solutions concerning Employment, Work and Vocational Education and Training were nominated by the Zero Project’s network of experts from around the world. Out of these, 68 Innovative Practices and Policies have been selected as the most outstanding.The Zero Project supports decision-makers and opinion leaders in their efforts to implement the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) worldwide. This is the final result of a multi-state selection process where a multitude of experts from around the world participated and voted.
The Zero Project focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. It's sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers.
The Georgia High School High Tech program is honored to have been selected as an Innovative Practice for 2017 by Zero Project.
The Augusta Area High School High Tech Program hosted a College Fair and Resource Day on November 2 to give the High School High Tech students an opportunity to talk individually with post-secondary institutions, community partners, and local employers. There were over 280 High School High Tech students that attended and participated in this event from Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie, Burke and Curtis Baptist school systems. There was a presentation from Georgia Futures on financial aid available to assist students who want to attend post-secondary education. This event gives the students an opportunity to start making decisions and plans for their futures after graduation from high school.
On October 25, 2016 High School High Tech students from Stephens County High School and Barrow County school system toured McLane Southeast and received a presentation on career opportunities, employment expectations, and a tour of the facility. The students also visited Athens Technical College and were given presentations by staff in Admissions, Financial Aide and Disability Services. The students also toured the campus so they could see all the types of programs that are offered at this campus.
The Muscogee County High School High Tech program hosted a High School High Tech Rally at Columbus State University on October 7, 2016. There were over 120 High School High Tech students from the Muscogee county school system that attended and participated in this transition activity. The students attended training sessions on Knowledge Beyond the Classroom, Self-Advocacy Training, Disability Awareness, and Making New Connections. The students received a lot of great information in one day at this event on job readiness, self-advocacy, Vocational Rehabilitation services and disability awareness. Partners that assisted with this rally were Muscogee County school staff, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, Columbus State University staff and Georgia High School High Tech staff. Paula Dukes with the Muscogee County school system coordinated this event.
On September 22, the Dublin Area High School High Tech program hosted a Motivational Training Event to Kick-Off the beginning of another highly successful school year for HSHT students from: Dublin City, West and East Laurens, Dodge, and Bleckley County school systems. The keynote speaker, Eddie Slowikowski, encouraged students to cultivate positive change by discovering their purpose, igniting their passion, recognizing that it takes hard work to reach your goals, and becoming the best version of yourself. Students also had an opportunity to learn about various careers in their local communities from a panel of volunteers currently enjoying successful careers in medicine, management, law enforcement, and music. A senior and current HSHT student gave a presentation and encouraged the group to take advantage of the many experiences provided by HSHT, such as job shadowing, college tours, resume development, completing a job application, and industry tours. She believes that these experiences will help her to graduate high school, attend post-secondary education, and successfully reach her goal as a Pre-School Teacher. Sandi Dixon and the Dublin Vocational Rehabilitation Office coordinated the informative and motivational event.
The Augusta Area High School High Tech program hosted a High School High Tech (HSHT) Motivational Event on September 21. There were over 250 High School High Tech students from Richmond, Burke, Columbia, McDuffie, Wilkes and Curtis Baptist that attended and participated in the event. A speaker from Easter Seals gave the students a presentation to assist them with becoming more prepared for employment. The keynote speaker was Eddie Slowikowski and he encouraged students to cultivate positive change by discovering their purpose, igniting their passion, recognizing that it takes hard work to reach your goals, and becoming the best version of yourself. This event encourages the students to participate in the transition activities that will be coordinated throughout the year to assist them with being more prepared for their transition after high school.
The Glynn County High School High Tech students met for their Motivational Kick-Off Training Tuesday, September 20. The Georgia High School High Tech program provides transition activities for students with all types of disabilities to help prepare them for post-secondary education and employment. The guest speaker for the Kick Off event was Grayson Marshall Jr, “Do Positive, Just Because”. He spoke to students about the 5 keys to living the life you have always wanted from his recently published book. The High School High Tech Program is currently offered to juniors and seniors in Glynn County school system at Brunswick High School, Glynn Academy, and Morningstar Academy.
Appling County High School, High School High Tech students, toured Coastal Pines Technical College in Jesup, GA and Baxley, GA on May 3, 2016. Students were able to meet with instructors to gain information about the courses offered. Several students are interested in pursuing their education at Coastal Pines Technical College. Within the group, there were students that were End of Pathway Completers in Welding, Healthcare Science and Early Childhood Education. Thank you HSHT for your support in getting students educated on the opportunities they have in post-secondary education.
The students in the High School High Tech (HSHT) program participated in the Mission Quest Flight Simulation program which involved planning and flying a mission. The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, GA is a part of the National STEM Academy Foundation. Read all about it here.
In January 2016 Berrien, Brooks & Echols County High Schools collaborated, participated & hosted a Career Fair that was facilitated by the Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, Jessica Carter and HSHT Coordinator Carmen Cates. This enabled the students participating in the Georgia High School High Tech Program as well as the Coordinators to learn more about the different jobs and opportunities available in their area as well as teaching the students what goes along with attending Job Fairs and applying for employment. This also assisted with forming relationships in order to develop job shadowing, internships & mentoring program opportunities for the students with the different vendors and community partners in order to assist with job experiences. The students also had the opportunity to hear directly from an employer’s perspective on employment. April Stokes, from Lowes Distribution Center, provided the students with information on expectations that employers have when interviewing, work ethics, behavior, attendance, probationary periods, getting terminated & re-applying for employment etc. The students were also able to communicate with the vendors and get information on learning what is needed for applying for successful competitive employment.
High School High Tech students from Franklin and Hart County schools toured McLane Trucking and Athens Technical College in Athens, Georgia. The students were given a tour of McLane Trucking and shown all aspects of the business. The students were given a lot of information about careers at this site and qualifications for these careers. The students were very engaged and asked a lot of good questions about job opportunities at this location. The students then toured Athens Technical College where they were given a presentation on admissions and financial aid. They were then given a tour of the campus and all the areas of study that are available at this campus. The students have very positive comments about both of these tours.
Students with the Newton County High School High Tech Program toured the KIA plant in LaGrange, Georgia. The students were given a tour of the plant and given information on job opportunities available at this site. HSHT assists with providing industry tours so students can get information on career opportunities at these sites to assist them with making plans for after graduation.
The Bacon County High School High School High Tech students attended a tour of Publix in Tifton, GA on January 14, 2016. The students were able to learn a lot about how the grocery industry works and the many different jobs that are needed to run a grocery store. They were able to visit each department and talk with the department heads about what duties were involved in each area of the store. They also learned that Publix is a great place to work and that they have many incentives to work there. All of the department heads also expressed how important it is to have your High School diploma in order to work there. It is not necessary to go to college, because they are willing to train their employees, but they want people that are willing to learn. This experience was really good for the kids to hear about a place of employment. Although not all would be interested in working at a Publix, they received a lot of information about what companies are looking for in employees. They also learned that you don't have to have a lot of skills, you just have to want to learn and there are people that will train you. The students really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot!
Six High School High Tech students in the Albany High School High Tech program attended the community service project in December 2015 to benefit the Salvation Army by Ringing the bell at the Albany Mall. The Students activities started with a scavenger hunt at the mall that involved them using technology (their cellphone) to document their findings. Students were given the Scavenger Hunt rules sheet for the game. The scavenger hunt list consisted for various signs, items and people throughout the mall that the students had to located. While one group participated in the scavenger hunt, the others rang the bell for the Salvation Army and sung Christmas Carols. This activity allowed students to utilize social skills and improve their ability to work as a team. Students were also told how the funds collected in the Kettle would benefit people in need in the community.
The Augusta Area High School High Tech Program hosted their annual College Fair and Resource Day in October 2015. There were over 200 High School High Tech students that attended from Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie and Burke counties. There were over 30 employers and community partners that attended. The College Fair and Resource Day offers the students an opportunity to get information from post secondary schools, employers and community partners to start developing their plans for after graduation. At the beginning of the event, there was a speaker from ADP who presented information to the students on presenting yourself for an interview and she also presented information on appropriate social media etiquette to the students.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor assisted with coordinating a tour for the Brooks County High School High Tech students to the Lowes Distribution Center. Students met with the plant manager, Chris Lilly, and other managers. Students were given information about the different job positions and opportunities that Lowes Distribution Center has to offer. They were able to get firsthand information on job opportunities as well as the duties, work hours, goals that must be met, salary, rewards and requirements that an employee must have to work there. This activity was a great career opportunity experience for the students.
Mr. Charles Kern of Goodwill North Georgia made a presentation to the Rabun County High School High Tech students on "How to Present Yourself to Employers". Mr. Kern discussed the many aspects of presenting yourself to an employer in an interview. Topics included: proper appearance, self-confidence, being prepared, enthusiasm, and attitude. The session was very interactive and the students asked important questions.
The Georgia High School High Tech Program is a comprehensive community-based program providing youth with disabilities a link to academic and career-development experiences that enable them to successfully meet the workforce demands of the 21st century.