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Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, left, directs junior high students as they begin their first day of Career Technical Education summer camp on Monday. The goal of the camp is to get students interested in college and different job opportunities at an early age. STAFF PHOTO BY ROBERT HONG

Students consider future careers during summer camp

BARSTOW • After observing college life, exploring career opportunities, and learning business etiquette last summer, junior high students Kiara Lafontant and Delores Baca have their eyes set on higher education.

The two returned to Barstow Community College on Monday for another dose of real world experience as part of the school’s Career Technical Education summer camp.

In its second year, the program aims to give students an early taste of career possibilities, which officials hope will encourage them to pursue college and a lofty job prospects.

“This is the age where they don’t know exactly what they want to do and we let them experience new things and also let them know there are other job opportunities for them here,” said college spokeswoman Maureen Stokes.

For Lafontant, that goal has hit its mark.

She is already interested in pursuing a career in video and film technology. But foremost, she is looking forward to attending college.

“(In college) there are so many new things you can learn,” the 13-year-old said.

After learning about jobs in the medical field last year, Baca, 14, is not only certified in CPR, but also eyeing a career in sports therapy.

For the next few weeks, the two will join more than 50 other students as they are introduced to even more career paths.

Among other things, students will dabble in film production, marketing, and public relations. In the robotics class, students will build actual robots that will be used in a competition at the end of the camp.

Students will also meet with local business professionals from the Barstow Police Department, Bureau of Land Management and more.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for them,” said teacher Ken Shoemaker. “They’re going to learn skills they normally wouldn’t get in the public information sector.”

Beyond learning about different careers, the students will be taught interview skills, how to deal with cultural diversity in the workplace and how to dress for success, program officials said.

The camp is one of many programs put on through a $1.9 million grant received last year from the state.

“It’s not just a summer camp, it’s an educational summer camp that gives them the opportunity to be on a college campus,” said Sandi Thomas, grant manager for the program. “They start to realize that it’s not that scary.”

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