Rolla High School students of all grade levels had the opportunity to grow on Jan. 23, as RHS scheduled the Freshmen Leadership Summit, Sophomore Career Expo and Experts in the Classroom, which was for Junior and Senior Students. The events were catered to each student’s grade level, with the Leadership Summit teaching valuable skills to students still moving through the high school, and Experts in the Classroom discussing college and career opportunities for older students.


Dr. Jim Pritchett, RHS principal, sent an email to parents describing each of the events scheduled for that day, calling it “an excellent opportunity that our students have that will help them plan for their future.”


In the Experts in the Classroom portion, Junior and Senior students signed up for two seminars, each focusing on a different area of interest. The presentations were given by local community members, with Springfield being the furthest distance traveled by a speaker. Each lasted 45 minutes, and gave students a chance to hear about different fields of work, by someone in that field. Every branch of the military was represented as well. This portion of the day was organized by Don Luna, RHS teacher and A+ coordinator.


“It’s just neat to get local people to come in, and students can see [they] can live her in Rolla and be a vet, or go to Springfield and travel all over the world with [a] soundboard.


While the older students were engaging with local experts, Sophomore’s traveled to the Rolla Technical Institute (RTI) to attend the Career Expo. RTI and Rolla Technical Center (RTC) shared information on their various programs students could join. Out of over 20 programs, students selected four they would like to learn about, such as agricultural education, culinary arts, the design academy and engineering. According to Dr. Pritchett’s email, students learned about job prospects, salary implications and other hands-on aspects of these specific programs.


“This again is a great way for our younger students to begin planning for the future,” said Dr. Pritchett.


The Freshmen class were given special attention in the Leadership Summit, learning about personal growth and leadership, with a focus on goal setting, time management, career planing and citizenship. Students were also able to gather in small groups and discuss these ideas. The keynote speaker for the summit was Nick Baker, former National FFA officer. He was introduced by Hannah Strain, the Rolla FFA president.


In the small group sessions, students engaged in several activities, which seemed like games but focused on teamwork skills and accomplishing goals under pressure, such as trying to build a tower out of cards while a volunteer regularly demolished it.


Don Luna said he could only speak to the Experts in the Classroom portion of the day, but said “if we get one kid to figure out their goal…that’s well worth it,” a sentiment that was certainly shared by organizers across the board throughout the day as students began to plan for their future both in and out of high school.