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STUDENT PARTICIPATION RISES FOR JOB SHADOW DAY.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - More than 200 high school students skipped class Monday for a hands-on peek into their future.

The William S. Hart District's participation in the seventh annual National Groundhog Job Shadow Day was at its highest level ever, according to organizer Anne Kerman.

``Five years ago, the Hart District joined the job shadow program and we had 10 students,'' she said. ``Today, there are more than 200 students here.''

About 125 of the student participants were from Saugus High School. Saugus Principal Bill Bolde was singled out for honors by both Kerman and Hart Superintendent Bob Lee for his leadership in developing students' career prospects.

``Saugus pushes this program and encourages all of us to go to a four- year college,'' said Vija Jodele, a Saugus senior. ``Every day there's something new outside the career center. They are always giving students recommendations and helping them.''

On Monday participating students were at businesses and offices all around town as they shadowed politicians, artists, teachers, doctors, police officers and firefighters, accountants, judges and retailers, just to name a few.

Kathi Lund, mother of Saugus High junior Tom Lund who shadowed TimBen Boydston of the Canyon Theatre Guild, said that after she dropped off her son, she ran into student shadows all over town.

``I went to the Chamber of Commerce to find out how to get a letter from the president for my parents' 50th anniversary and there were students there,'' Lund said. ``They referred me to Congressman Buck McKeon's office and there were students there. And when I ran over to get T-shirts for the theater, there were job shadow students there. I was amazed how widespread this program was.''

Tammy Somers, an officer with Los Angeles County Animal Control at the Castaic shelter, took students Justin Myers and Danyel Libes through the paperwork and financial aspects of animal control before sending the students on to her co-worker Lisa Eldridge, who showed them the animals awaiting adoption and let them play with a frisky terrier pup.

``I've been thinking about becoming a vet,'' Myers said. ``I like animals, and I'm good in science.''

``I wanted to see how the animals are kept,'' said Libes. ``I was thinking of being a vet, but this looks more interesting.''

The students stayed with their mentors for the morning, then all program participants gathered at the city's Activity Center for a luncheon, where students shared their experiences.

Sometimes students learned that the jobs they thought they wanted were totally different from what they expected. One student, assigned to Live Oak Elementary School in Castaic, said she'd always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher but decided it wouldn't suit her at all.

Stephen Theis of Bowman School, who shadowed Patty Kelly, district representative for Sen. Pete Knight, R-Palmdale, said his experience inspired him.

``I learned what goes on behind the scenes and how one politician can cover a huge district,'' he said. ``Now I'm interested in pursuing a career in government.''

Some saw lessons for the whole community in their day.

``I was with the California Highway Patrol and the fastest person I saw driving today was going 110 - in the Santa Clarita Valley - and the slowest was going 80,'' said Reena Shelly. ``You guys have to slow down.''

Many businesses found their young shadows became instant spokesmen for them.

``I spent the morning with Mr. (Larry) Mankin at the Chamber of Commerce and learned it's good to be pro-business, which you all should be,'' said Shannon Krell. ``But I also learned that it's important to have good relations with the people you work with.''

Amy Hamilton, a senior at Saugus, was participating for the fourth year in a row. Her assignment in the emergency department of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital was enlightening, she said, and her enthusiasm for the job-shadow program was infectious.

``This is a wonderful opportunity,'' she said. ``Everyone should do it.''

Councilwoman Marsha McLean said she'd been concerned about keeping her student busy but came away with a lesson of her own.

``I learned how savvy today's students are about current events and what's going on in the world,'' she said. ``You students are our future. But after listening to (Josh Eisenberg from Saugus High), I can reassure you that we are in good hands.''

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1) Sixteen-year-old Danyel Libes of Saugus High plays with a puppy at the Castaic Animal Shelter in her own experience Monday with William S. Hart school district's participation in the seventh annual National Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

(2) Saugus High students Justin Myers, 17, and Danyel Libes, 16, get to know a canine resident at Castaic Animal Shelter.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 3, 2004
Words:797
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