CULLMAN, Ala. – The Liberty Learning Foundation (LLF) visited Cullman High School Thursday afternoon to discuss workplace skills with the ninth-grade classes as part of the Citizen Promise Program. Pairs of instructors split up and visited different classrooms to make their presentations. Liberty Learning provides civic education programs and prepares students for careers while empowering educators to teach civics, financial literacy and career readiness.
Liberty Learning member Cynthia Green stated, “This program specifically in high school is just to get them prepared for life, careers and being citizen ready once they graduate from high school. We want them to realize that they can make a difference.”
Liberty Learning member Joyce Bishop explained that their civic programs begin when students are in the 7th grade. “They are old enough to realize that they can make a difference. In 7th grade, they work on the American Character Program. They work toward a project that would benefit the whole community. They don’t do the project. They say what would be a good project, and then they do an expo on all on the projects and then they try to choose one to actually do. Then they get to 9th grade, they have that mindset already going and we ask them to do real activities.”
Guest speaker Susan Eller discussed with one of the classes how the skills cultivated in high school can help students’ ability to acquire a career in the future. Eller asked the class, “What are some things that can make you a better employee in the future?” To which students replied, “having a good work ethic,” and “being on time.” Eller agreed, “We can train you to do a job, but the soft skills, which are things like being on time, are something that we cannot teach you. When you’re on time for school, you are starting to set ways that you’re going to be for the rest of your life.”
Eller discussed the importance of making oneself aware of the opportunities in the community either for careers or volunteer work. She said, “I would not have had these opportunities if I had not been aware of my surroundings; been aware of the people that I worked with and the people I worked for.”
The students were encouraged to learn about volunteer projects in the community or to take initiative and start a project all their own. Eller said, “That’s something I think we all need to start doing more is instead of waiting for somebody else to create those things, what if you all just looked around and said, ‘we need to pick up our community, lets, every grade take a different block and pick up trash’ and that’s not only saying that you volunteered, but you created that idea.”
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