Fifteen-year-old Emma Marchetti wanted to know if she should pursue health science after high school but had no way of fitting a Career Pathways course in her packed schedule.
Already signed up for honors chemistry, world history, orchestra and honors Spanish III, as well as other classes, the Rolling Meadows High School sophomore was excited when she learned District 214 would begin offering Career Pathways courses in the summer months.
“I want to take both (orchestra and Spanish) for four years and there’s no way I can give up my lunch,” says Marchetti, who is taking the Introduction to Health Careers class. “This is the way I could do everything I wanted to do.”
Marchetti is one of about 40 students across the District who have signed up for introductory pathway classes in health science and engineering, both of which expose students to a variety of careers in these fields and skills needed to thrive in the workplace.
The summer courses – held four days a week for six weeks – add flexibility to students’ class schedules and give them more opportunities to engage with Career Pathways classes for the first time.
“I’ve always wanted to take a (Career Pathways) class but didn’t have the time in my schedule,” says Felix Yun, a Wheeling High School junior who is in this summer’s Introduction to Engineering Design class. “This (summer class) is really helpful.”
Yun’s classmate, Sam Prempas, knew she wanted to pursue an aviation career and said she signed up for the introductory engineering course to get ahead in the aviation pathway. Now, the 15-year-old will be able to take the next class in the aviation pathway when her junior year at Prospect High School starts in August.
The summer career pathway classes also help students who realize that a specific pathway might not be for them. If students decide a pathway is not for them during the summer term, they can opt into another pathway when the school year begins.
Although students give up six weeks of their summer vacation to take the pathway classes, many agreed it is worth the investment. “I think it’s important that people take these opportunities to figure out what you want to do. It’s something I really like and I’m really glad I was able to do this,” says Marchetti.
Growing up, Moses Martinez was always interested in health science. He tried to fit in the introductory health careers course in his schedule over the last two years but says it was not possible with his honors Spanish and orchestra classes.
The Elk Grove High School senior says he is enjoying the summer health careers pathway class, which has given him a broader view of the various careers that exist. He plans to take the second class in the pathway, Medical Terminology, when the school year begins and then enlist in the Air Force after high school and go into the medical field.
“It takes time out of the summer but it’s a definite payoff in the end,” says Martinez, 17. “You have to work hard to get to where you want to go.”