The LeRoy Opportunity: A Parent's Perspective

Corporate Literacy Class Trip

 

I had the pleasure of traveling with the Corporate Literacy class to Chicago.  The first morning we went to the law firm, Reed Smith.  Several lawyers took turns telling their story of how they arrived in their profession.  Each of them had different paths, whether it was to be a symphony musician, the leader of a band, or attend a junior college or college. Many of them changed schools, majors, jobs, and locations because they felt unhappy or hadn't found the right fit. They stressed that happiness matters and that most days you should like going to work because you do it for a long time.  Out of 8 lawyers, only one of them knew they were interested in law prior to their undergraduate studies. They each described what type of law they worked in, and why it suited them personally.  The underlying message was that it is all right to be unsure about your next step in life.  You could almost see a sense of relief on our students' faces, as they realized their path may not be a straight line, but more like a winding road. I think it was especially beneficial that they heard it from someone other than their parents or teachers.  Our students asked impressive questions about things that matter to them.  The one that stood out was, "how do you create a work-life balance?".  A gentleman in commercial real estate law gave a great answer, along the lines of; the world will take as much as you are willing to give, you must decide what that will be.  Will you have your phone on 24/7 or will you have boundaries, and make it to your family events?

Afterwards, we had lunch with Le Roy High School graduates, Molly Marcum, Nolan Sammer, and Jake Wohlwend.  In this very casual setting, we talk a lot about the student's future.  Our graduates kept the conversation going, asking what schools the students are attending, what their majors are, where they are living, and if they have found roommates.  Then they shared about their lives in the city and their jobs. Molly shared the importance of being able to network and communicate well.  She talked about how playing golf in high school has really helped her in job social situations. 

After lunch, we headed out to explore the city.  Some students had never been to Chicago and were impressed with the architecture and wanted to know the names of buildings. The students pay for cabs and meals with money they raised throughout the year and they also navigate the city and problem solve. There were stops at Bentley Gold Coast, Under Armour, Water Tower Place, Ghirardelli, Garrett's popcorn, Lush, and others. After a long day, we put our feet up for a few minutes before we headed out to dinner at il Porcellino. This delicious Italian restaurant is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience a formal dining setting and share their thoughts on the day. The students said it was nice to hear that being happy in their profession matters and that they don't have to plan for everything right now.  Several shared their excitement for graduation, yet their unease at the changes ahead.  The next morning, we met with Kieva, the manager from il Porcellino. He had a very good idea of what he wanted to do but worked in many areas of the restaurant and hotel management industry before finding his passion.  He had a very engaging personality and the students loved him.  He talked about attention to detail in what you do and looking for new opportunities if you feel stuck or things aren't going well. He also stressed the importance of connections and networking.  We got a tour of the kitchen and saw where he makes and brands ice for many restaurants in downtown Chicago. 

The Corporate Literacy trip to Chicago is such an outstanding learning opportunity outside of the everyday classroom. It helps prepare our soon- to -be graduates for the next four years, by giving them a glimpse into the lives of successful business people who were just like them.  It inspires them to try new things, search for happiness, work thru failure, and strive for more.  We have such great students at Le Roy High school, we owe it to them to offer these real-world opportunities where they can explore and engage.

 

Wendy Dooley