Rolla High School students are getting a taste of the real world as some venture into business and industry by shadowing professionals in careers that interest them.

“It (the job shadow program) has been going on for years in different capacities,” Stephanie Grisham said.


Rolla High School students are getting a taste of the real world as some venture into business and industry by shadowing professionals in careers that interest them.
“It (the job shadow program) has been going on for years in different capacities,” Stephanie Grisham said.
Grisham, a math teacher at RHS, is in her second year as the director of the A+ program, which coordinates the job shadow program.
Students pick different career areas they would like to investigate. A person in that career is found and the students follow them for a day.
Whether or not students want to go into that career by the end of the day varies, but reaction to the day is usually the same.
“This may not be what I want to go into, but the experience was good,” Grisham said of a typical student response.
Positive feedback is not limited to the students though. The people who are being shadowed find the experience rewarding as well, according to Grisham.
In the selection process of who is shadowed, students are allowed to pick who they can shadow.
“Sometimes they have someone in mind,” Grisham said of the students. However, when a student does not have someone in mind, it requires a little more effort.
“If they don’t have anyone in mind, we seek people out in the community,” Grisham said.
Students are required to ask questions about the career, so they have more insight into the job.
Student questions can include a variety of professional topics.
What opportunities are there to advance? What are the most difficult parts of the job? What kind of educational background is necessary?
Yet it is not enough for students to learn about the job itself, they are required to ask personal questions of the person being shadowed, she said.
Why did they pick that career? What do they enjoy about it? What is challenging for them? These are a few of the questions a student shadowing at the Rolla Daily News asked reporters during a recent endeavor.
After the students have completed the day of shadowing and asked all the questions required, students have to write an essay, detailing what they have learned. 
What they learn depends on what career they are investigating, which can range from medicine and education to journalism.
“I’ve had a student ride around with a police officer,” Grisham said.
To illustrate the wide variety of careers, Grisham said that two students had shadowed the person who controls the Jumbotron at the Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues.
But the approach of getting RHS students out to shadow professionals in the world of real-life work is going through some changes this year.
With previous years, “the huge time we would send kids out was during senior week,” - when sophomores and juniors were taking the MAP test, Grisham said.
However, since Missouri is moving towards an End of Course test, there will be no senior week, because EOC tests are not class specific.
Last year, Grisham send she did not have many students doing job shadowing outside of senior week.
So far this semester she has sent out 20 students. This is not enough though said Grisham, who hopes to take advantage of a number of marketing ideas, using fliers, daily announcements at school, and at the senior parents night.
“I would like to see more kids take advantage of the opportunity,” Grisham said.