Tenth Grade Opportunity Days

High school sophomores are an inquisitive bunch, says Batavia High School counselor Cathy Hoitink, and are a perfect match for the annual Tenth Grade Opportunity Days at Genesee Community College.

"It's a nice way for sophomores, who are at the exploratory stage of their lives, to learn about careers in their areas of interest," said Hoitink, who is preparing to escort about 20 Batavia students to the two-day event scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 29 and 30th.

Nearly 200 students from 20 area high schools will come to Genesee's Batavia campus to learn more about career opportunities in health, business, information technology and the legal system. College Tech Prep, of Genesee Community College, is coordinating the event.

The Opportunity Days are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. each day. Representatives from 10 high schools will come to Genesee on Tuesday and students and advisers from 10 other high schools will participate on Wednesday.

According to Debbie Dunlevy, College Tech Prep director, the program is designed to provide information and hands-on experience "to give the students an idea of what is involved in these careers."

"Students will visit high-tech classrooms and labs, join in on team building exercises and talk with faculty, financial aid and admission personnel and will get a chance to interact with students from other schools," she said.

The event format calls for students to be divided by their area of interest and spend "quite a bit of time visiting with college officials," Hoitink said. "After lunch, they have team building activities and the students get a chance to report on what they've learned and done."

Hoitink said she has been involved in the program for many years. She said it helps her to keep abreast of changes in the selected fields and heightens students' awareness of opportunities they may not have realized were out there.

"There's a lot more interest in the health careers field we've noticed," Hoitink said. "The students are hearing more about openings in the field - there's a shortage of nurses - and see a lot of shows on TV about medical careers, hospitals, forensics. With all of the CSI shows on television, science becomes more interesting."

She sees College Tech Prep, which is part of the Accelerated College Enrollment program at Genesee, as a valuable tool for high school students to pinpoint their post-secondary educational goals.

"The response from students has been positive," she said. "Everyone involved from the college have been extremely helpful."

Editor's Note: A photograph of students participating in last year's Tenth Grade Opportunity Day is available at the following Internet location: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/Ten_Grade_Op_Day.jpg