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Co-op students receiving early taste of working world

Marco Salmen

On Sunday morning, May 26, 2002, 150 former GSHS students will wake up with a diploma in the drawer and one giant question, “What do I do now?” Their high school experience now completed, they must move on to the next stage of their lives. For many, that next stage will be further education: colleges, universities and vocational schools. Yet, the eventual goal of all the graduates is what parents have told their children for years: “Get a job!”For some it will take years of higher learning and training before they find a suitable occupation. Others will find employment right out of high school. But the 20 kids in the GSHS Cooperative Education program have a head start on them all. Through A.C.E. (Alternative Cooperative Education), the students are able to get a taste of the career world while still remaining in the education world. For over 15 years, the GSHS Co-op program has given students the opportunity for a unique, individualized high school experience. In school half day and at work half day, the students are learning valuable lessons in multiple settings.A typical day for Co-op students is not quite the same as a normal day for other students. Most Co-op students arrive each morning at GSHS for regular classes. But in the afternoon, when other students are chatting leisurely during passing periods or enjoying a bag of chips from Time Out, the Co-op students are working hard at Wal-Mart, Kmart, The Pit Stop, Mancinelli’s, and other local businesses. In addition, each 6th hour, the Co-op students convene for the classroom segment of A.C.E., taught by Mrs. Mary Hinkey. They explore careers of possible interest, learn about personal finance, and conduct job shadows.Through their hard work, the Co-op students receive 15 credits per semester towards their high school graduation. Says Mrs. Hinkey, “The Co-op program fits the need for kids who don’t meet the traditional academic scenario, but still want to get their graduation credits. It keeps kids learning through alternative settings, while allowing them to supplement themselves financially.”Just like in the rest of the school, the Co-op program has a variety of student types. It has its high achievers, its average students, its college-bound students, and its work-bound students. The program is available to any GSHS junior or senior who is currently employed. In this age where so much of our society is mass-produced, the GSHS Co-op program provides a welcome individualized approach. As Ms. Hinkey puts it, “It’s just another way to get you down that road.”GSHS will have the special opportunity to host the Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. From 8 a.m. until noon, the court will hear two real cases in the GSHS Auditorium. Students from schools all over the Western Slope will attend.A representative from the Air Force Academy will be in the Lobby to answer questions at 11:20 a.m. on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Key Club will host its Spaghetti Dinner fund-raiser from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. On Friday and Saturday night, the GSHS drama students will put on their spring production of “Robin Hood,” beginning at 7 p.m. both nights. Next Monday, May 6, the GSHS Band will have its spring concert at 7 p.m.Freshmen Carlyn Farquhar is one of this week’s Students of the Week. Carlyn has lived in the area for about three years with parents Robert Littler and Penny Farquhar, and brothers Alec and Pearce Littler. She enjoys, among other things, playing soccer, snowboarding and traveling.Through GSHS, Carlyn is involved in Student Council, Mock Trial, and the currently undefeated JV soccer team. Her favorite class is Choir and she enjoys the movies “Pearl Harbor” and “Legally Blond.” She advises other students to “get involved in school because you make friends and it allows you to get into good colleges.”Carlyn believes the best part of school at GSHS is “the activities and sports that are offered.” After graduation, she hopes to attend Brown University and then to travel the world.Senior Will Cleator is honored as the other Student of the Week. Will has lived in the area for nine years with parents Bill and Kathy Cleator and sister Mary. He enjoys playing football, basketball, and being with friends.His favorite class at GSHS is Personal Finance and he enjoys the movie “Gladiator” and rap music. Will cites Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg as one of his role models. Will believes the best part of high school at GSHS is “the teachers.”He advises other students, “Don’t give up, otherwise you are cheating yourself out of success.” After high school, Will plans on training to become a state trooper.


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