- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - Kodiak Middle School students spent weeks preparing resumes, cover letters and references before doing mock interviews with Kodiak community members to get ready to apply for jobs in the future.

All middle school eighth-graders participate in the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s School to Work program during the spring semester.

“They all turn 14 in eighth grade,” said Lindsey Cassidy, an eighth-grade writing teacher who, along with two other English teachers, works with the students to prepare for the interviews. “This gets them ready as they head off to apply for summer jobs.”

After all the prep work, community members volunteer to conduct interviews with the students.

“Fishing, insurance, financial, medical, several clerical workers, laborers,” Cassidy said, naming off some of the industries represented by the interviewers. “We try to get as wide a variety as we can.”

The volunteers give each student a grade based on a number of factors from their handshake to eye contact to how well they answer questions. The student with the highest grade is the one who would, if it were a real job interview, get the job.

Outside the interview room on Friday, two students relaxed after the interview while a third waited her turn.

“We have one overall interview, and they take our references and our resume,” said eighth-grader Elianah Micel. “Preparing them took a lot of time, but I thought the interview was going to be easy.”

Micel also said she thought the School to Work program would help when she applied for jobs in the future.

Another student also thought the interview wasn’t too difficult.

“It was easier than I thought,” said Naomi Daniher after her interview. “It seemed nerve wracking, but it turned out easier than I expected.”

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, https://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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