On-the-job learning part of curriculum

Warrior Run cooperative education teacher Brent Gordner (standing), poses with the students in his work readiness class. Pictured are, front, left to right, Garrick Grady, Denver Beachel and Logan Witmer; second row, same order, Kacey Eschbach, Constance Brown, Kylie Jones and Noah Printzenhoff. 

TURBOTVILLE — Garrick Grady hopes to open his own restaurant someday. The Warrior Run High School senior currently is learning about the food business as a chef at Original Italian Pizza in Allenwood, where he has worked for the past three years.

The Dewart resident also is learning about business in general in his work readiness class in school and next year wants to attend Bloomsburg University to study business management.

Both his job and his school’s cooperative education program are preparing him for his future.

Warrior Run business teacher Brent Gordner thinks it is important students learn what it’s like in the work world before they get out of school. He put those thoughts into action when school district administrators enlisted him to lead the cooperative education program.

The work-study program, which includes Gordner’s work readiness class, is part of the Warrior Run curriculum this year. Though there are only seven students this year, he expects it to grow.

Kacey Eschbach, Allenwood, plans to attend Penn College next year to become a registered nurse. In her current part-time job, she works in a nursing home’s dietary department, where she has to keep track of residents’ meal plans.

“I like that you can give help to people when they can’t do it themselves,” Eschbach said. 

“Kacey has learned a lot about communication, communicating with patients,” Gordner said.


Jobs part of course 

She, Grady and the other five seniors currently in the program attend classes in the morning then work afternoons at a part-time job that in most cases is related to their career interest. That gives them experience in job hunting and interviewing. Gordner does a monthly performance review with their employer.

“As a leadership team, we have discussed the idea of developing the cooperative education program the past few years and approached Brent earlier this spring to determine his level of interest in leading the charge,” said Warrior Run School District Superintendent Alan Hack. “Without a doubt, we knew that Brent was the right person for the job, and he has run with the program full speed ahead.”

Hack said administrators were pleased to offer the cooperative education opportunity for students who may not be interested in attending a four-year college and may be entering the workforce directly after graduation.

“Other students may choose to attend a two-year or other form of post-secondary education to further their skills in a particular trade or area of employment,” he said.

“It’s for either college-bound or non-college bound,” Gordner said. “For college-bound, it gives them a better picture.”

He said the program teaches the students workplace responsibility, customer relations, employee-employer relations, problem-solving, resume writing and job interviewing skills.

Denver Beachel, senior from Limestone Township, Montour County, is working on his family’s turkey farm for his work-study job because he wants to go into the business.

“It’s kind of like you’re your own boss,” he said. “I’ve grown up around it my whole life.”

With 10,000 turkeys in each of two 750-foot barns, he already knows there is a lot of paperwork, keeping track of vaccinations and making sure there is enough feed.

He plans on going to tech school to get his agriculture degree. But he also is learning about the business and the work world in Gordner’s classroom.

“I like this class,” Beachel said. “I can get more experience in my field here. The online course helps us with our job situation.”

“They select their own jobs,” Gordner said. “I help. There has been assistance with a couple who couldn’t find jobs.”

Learning the business

Noah Printzenhoff, of Watsontown, wants to work in wildlife management and as a hunting guide. He works at Pipeline Ridge Hunting Preserve in Muncy as a guide.

“I kind of grew up with a love of hunting,” he said.

In Gordner’s class, he also is learning about the business end of many occupations — “being in contact with customers, how to react to them, getting along with the boss.”

Logan Witmer, of White Hall, is a detailer at a car dealership.

“I think it’s fine,” he said. “I enjoy working at the dealership. Eventually, I’ll start buffing.”

He also has learned how to deal with workplace issues and how to talk with customers.

Kylie Jones, of Muncy, is looking at a future as a pharmaceutical technician. She works stocking shelves in the Weis Markets pharmacy in Lewisburg.

“I just wanted to be in the medical field,” Jones said. 

She said she has learned how to handle people.

Constance Brown, of Turbotville, wants to work as a studio or graphic designer, a field she ‘s been interested in since eighth grade. Her job at Chipotle has helped her to get organized.

“I’ve always wanted to walk into a grocery store and say I designed that label,” Brown said.

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