Mary Helen Darah
McCord Junior High School will be hosting a new event called The Amazing Shake.
Four years ago, McCord began the initiative, “Four Houses, One Family.” This PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program was designed to improve school culture and climate. The Amazing Shake is an extension of that initial program. The core goal of the event is to have students practice and perform skills that all employers find desirable in potential candidates they hope to employ. Such skills will include how to introduce yourself, make a sales pitch, make appointments, give explicit directions and of course, give an amazing handshake. The first round will take place Jan. 24 with over 50 volunteers from the business community participating and serving as judges for the competition.
McCord Junior High School Principal Susan Felver is thrilled to host the program that she believes will make a positive impact on students. “We have an opportunity to help students with life skills needed beyond academics. In the K-12 setting, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time within the academic classroom to veer from anything not related to content and curriculum, due to the emphasis on State Testing performance. With the help of an enthusiastic group of staff, we have been able to find creative ways to use time during the school day on a weekly basis to help students hone essential skills without taking time from academics. These essential skills are those that employers expect every applicant or employee to have: manners, discipline, respect, and professional behavior. Preparing our students is a building-wide initiative, but the actual Amazing Shake competition is for seventh graders only. They will each have an opportunity to present their best self in round one titled ‘The Gauntlet’ where all 173 seventh graders will work through various stations and receive a score from our guest judges. Twenty students with the highest scores from the Gauntlet will move on to round two in February which will take place at Kripke Enterprises, Inc. Eventually the competitors will be narrowed down to three students to be announced and recognized in a school-wide assembly in March,” she stated.
Principal Felver and her team already have secured the 50 volunteers needed for the event and are appreciative of the support given by the business community. She believes that the skills the students will learn will prepare them for the future. “Students will have a unique opportunity to interact with their future employers and gain confidence that will be invaluable to them as they prepare for their first job and beyond. While the event itself aims to be a fantastic experience for students, staff and the McCord community, the real value is helping students find their confidence and comfort in these soft skills that they otherwise might not have a chance to practice. The idea behind this preparation is to help them learn the skills and be able to be the best version of themselves.”