Learning by working
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent May 15, 2013 1:00PM
West Side Leadership Academy student Brittany Parker of Gary(18)(Left) accepts a plaque on behalf of Sears from Gary School Corp Tranportation head Milton Patch during the Annual Employers Recognition Luncheon at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary on Thursday. | Jeff Addison ~ Sun-Times Media
At a glance
Business Professionals of America Club members: from Lew Wallace STEM Academy, Aaliyah Bowden, Jalessa Williams, Kadeza Glover and Randall Haynes; from West Side Leadership Academy, Andre Rhymes, Immari Perkins, Brittany Parker and Justina Fuller.
Participants in the student employment co-op program: from Lew Wallace STEM Academy, Mary Adams (Little Caesars Pizza), Aaliyah Bowden (Bakers Square), Kadeza Glover (McDonald’s), Randall Haynes (Kmart) and Jalessa Williams (Indiana University Northwest Library); from West Side Leadership Academy, Breaunte Bray, Justina Fuller, Darrion Gaines, and Ebony Miller (McDonald’s), Thaddeus Conley ( English Department), Brittany Parker (Sears), Imari Perkins (Walgreens), Imaya Perkins (Village Park Child Care) and Andre Rhymes (IUN Library).
The Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education program and Gary Community School Corp. held their 55th annual Employers Recognition Luncheon April 25 for local employers who hired students from the Business Professionals of America clubs.
BPA clubs are active at Lew Wallace STEM and West Side Leadership academies.
Business Professionals of America began in the Gary Community School Corp. in 1957. This year’s employer partners were Little Caesars Pizza, Bakers Square Restaurant, McDonald’s, Kmart, Indiana University Northwest library, Sears, Walgreens, Village Park Child Care, Golden Living Center and the Gary Community School Corp.
IUN library assistant director of circulation services Betty Hiemstra had two students work with her since September: Andre Rhymes, 18, of West Side and Jalessa Williams, 19, of Lew Wallace.
“This is my second year participating in the program and it is a wonderful program for teens who want to learn working and leadership skills. This will prepare them for their futures,” Hiemstra said.
Rhymes said he decided to try out the program because his mother, TaWanna Love, was part of the Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education program in Chicago.
“She encouraged me to get into the program and I had a desire to get a head start in employment skills,” Rhymes said.
His mother said she worked through the Chicago Co-op program when she was in high school. “It is a great program and it proves that hard work pays off.”
Williams said she’s had a good experience working in the IUN library.
“My friends told me about the program and felt it would be a perfect fit for me. I am learning a lot from Miss Hiemstra like shelving books, cataloging and more,” she said.
While the co-op program lasts the entire school year, the jobs usually extend beyond the end of the school year.
“I am going to attend IUN so I will still work for Miss Hiemstra,” Williams said.
Guest speakers at the luncheon were twin sisters VinSche’ and Vinchessica Gray of Gary. The sisters are alumnae of Wirt High School and former co-op students. Vinchessica is also a past recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship award.
Both sisters spoke on the luncheon’s theme, “Discover Your Magic.” The twins had the audience do an exercise involving holding up a mirror and saying, “Mirror, mirror, what do you see? Can you help me discover the purpose that is within me?”
They elaborated on the phrase saying that you as an individual, are the only one who can discover your purpose and goals in life.