Provide The Ideal
Chance To See How
Work Gets Done
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Walking a mile in someone's shoes may reveal a lot to an individual, but so can spending a day in another person's shadow.
Across the county on Friday there were 148 high school students signed up to appear at more than 70 businesses and places of employment to shadow employees and owners alike.
The annual Job Shadowing Day has taken place since 1997 and is sponsored by Junior Achievement of Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, according to Kelly Burrell, Education and Workforce Development Director.
Burrell coordinates the day for the Greene County Partnership and expressed her "heartfelt thanks" to the sponsors and all who hosted students for the day.
"[Job shadowing] makes them more aware of what really goes on," said Dr. Cynthia Knopp, of ABC Dentistry. "I think at that age you don't know what you want to do -- you think you know. It's a little more involved."
Knopp hosted Seanna Collins, a junior from West Greene High School who said she is confident dentistry is in her future.
For some students, the day was their very first experience at a potential future career. For others, it was the opportunity to cement their decision and spend a day doing what they already knew they loved.
GREENEVILLE FIRE DEPT.
Devyn Darnell of South Greene High School has spent two years volunteering at the Cedar Creek Volunteer Fire Department, so his day with Greeneville Fire Chief Mark Foulks was not largely what he had envisioned.
"It's pretty much what I expected," he said. "I've learned what's their daily routine."
It wasn't without surprises either, though. For example, the amount of training that the firefighters must regularly complete.
"The amount of calls surprised me," Darnell added.
Foulks said the department has responded to at least 560 calls so far this year.
Mainly, the two agreed, it was a good opportunity to learn all the "ins and outs" of the business.
"I think it gives kids an upfront view of everything before they ever get into doing their formal line of education," Foulks said.
Darnell had the opportunity to join the fire marshal on two building inspections, attend firefighter in-service training, visit several of the town's fire stations, the 911 Center and Greeneville Police Department.
The senior said he plans to attend Walters State Community College after graduation to obtain his associate's degree in Fire Science.
Foulks said that in order to join the Greeneville FD full-time, Darnell would then need to pass a Civil Service test and 13 weeks of firefighter recruit training.
Across the county but at a similar job-shadowing, West Greene High School senior Brodie Patterson was staffing a first aid station at Tusculum College's Old Oak Festival.
"I like helping people," Patterson said in a simple explanation of why he asked to shadow an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Nursing and medical training classes at the Greeneville-Greene County Center for Technology stirred his interest in Emergency Medical Services in particular, he said.
His interest in being an EMT was in the "thrill and excitement, just waiting to help someone."
By Friday afternoon, waiting is the most of what Patterson had had the opportunity to do at the station, but he also received a lot of tips and advice from men who love the job and know how to answer his questions.
"Some days you're busy, some days you're not," Field Operations Supervisor Calvin Hawkins said.
Hawkins has been serving with the EMS since 1993.
"To me, it's the best job in the world," he said. "You meet new people ... all kinds of new people, interesting people. I've just always liked doing it."
He said that sometimes the job gets put down for the 24-hour shifts and hectic scheduling, but its something he and fellow EMT Jamie Shetley enjoy.
Patterson or any other students who are interested in becoming an EMT would need to complete the First Responder Program. At that point, there are two options: serve as an EMT or continue on to become a paramedic.
Hawkins recommended staying at the EMT level for at least a year before continuing on to higher education in order to see if riding an ambulance is a fit for that person.
The best part of being an EMT, Hawkins and Shetley added, is when an individual comes up to thank them for saving their life.
A few industries also opened their doors for job shadowers, including DTR Tennessee Inc.'s Midway plant and Jarden Zinc Products.
Three students spent the day at DTR, among them Tanner O'Laughlin, a junior at North Greene High School.
"My mamaw works here and I've always looked up to her," O'Laughlin said.
Although his grandmother was not present for his day of jobshadowing, he did spend the day in the Quality Assessment department where she normally works while shadowing Daniel Miller.
O'Laughlin learned about calibrations and testing equipment to make sure things meet the customers' expectations, Miller said.
He added that the student had been "a pleasure to train."
O'Laughlin shared his praise and said he is seriously considering a future at DTR.
To follow a path into the QA department, Director Mike Kelley said a high school degree could open the door to an assoicate position.
However, a technical or business degree could further open the doors for positions such as manager, engineer and director, he added.
Family also brought junior Paula Beets to Jarden Zinc, where she shadowed her father, Randy Beets.
Beets said he works on product development and was pleased to have his daughter learn more about how she could apply her interest in chemistry.
"I've seen that it's more interesting than I thought it was," Paula admitted. "Things that I've studied in chemistry, I've seen how they really work."
Shae Littleton, a junior at West Greene High School, visited The Greeneville Sun, where she got a complete picture of how a newspaper is produced.
She started by shadowing city beat reporter Amy Rose, then followed Hala Watson, wire editor and paginator.
Rose spoke to her about computer programs, writing techniques, photography, and organizational skills.
Watson showed Littleton how to design news pages and took her on a tour of the newspaper's various departments, including Advertising and Circulation.
Lisa Warren, staff writer and section editor, spoke to Littleton about various writing techniques.
Littleton also shadowed Assistant Managing Editor Rich Jones, who showed her the printing press and shared management techniques.
Littleton said her visit was "a lot more interesting" than she expected.
"I didn't know there were so many components of putting papers together," she said. "The printing press was pretty interesting."
She also seemed very excited to meet Gregg Jones, Sun co-publisher.
Littleton said the Greene County Partnership matched her with the Sun when she selected "editor" as her to job choice.
She said she plans to have a career in writing or editing and is considering applying to East Tennessee State University or Carson-Newman College.