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Students get jump-start on child-related careers

Kent-Meridian High School junior Mikell Cheatham, 17, helps teach a music class at Meadow Ridge Elementary School June 9. Kent-Meridian Career and Technical Education classes bring students like Cheatham to Meadow Ridge on a regular basis to gain experience for future child-related careers. - Daniel Mooney/Reporter
Kent-Meridian High School junior Mikell Cheatham, 17, helps teach a music class at Meadow Ridge Elementary School June 9. Kent-Meridian Career and Technical Education classes bring students like Cheatham to Meadow Ridge on a regular basis to gain experience for future child-related careers.
— image credit: Daniel Mooney/Reporter

Kent-Meridian High School teacher Bree Devlin says the best way to learn how to work with kids is to go out and do it.

That’s why Devlin takes high-school students from three of her career and technical education classes to local elementary schools each year, bringing them a step closer to being prepared for a variety of child-related careers.

“These students all want to work with kids somehow, whether they be teachers, social workers, pediatricians or nurses,” Devlin said. “This is such a great opportunity for high-school students to work with young students to help with their education and to learn themselves during the experience.”

High schoolers from Devlin’s Exploring Childhood, Careers with Children and Careers in Education classes spend much of their learning time tutoring students at Meadow Ridge and East Hill elementary schools throughout the year.

The classes provide insight into childhood development, Devlin said, and help Kent-Meridian students learn how to interact with and teach elementary-aged children. All three classes can be used for college waivers or credit, she said.

Students from Exploring Childhood were at Meadow Ridge June 9, spending one of the last days of the school year tutoring in nine classrooms.

Kent-Meridian junior Samara Martinez, 17, was helping several kindergartners write their numbers in one class. She said she enjoys the experience-based program and hopes it will help prepare her for a future career.

“I love working with kids,” Martinez said. “I want to be a child psychologist or a pediatrician someday.”

She said she also can see the help she’s been to the young students she has tutored.

“At home, some of them don’t have a lot of time to study with their parents, so it’s good to be able to help that way,” Martinez said.

Fellow Kent-Meridian students Latricha Jones and Mikell Cheatham were helping out in a music class the same day. Jones said the time at Meadow Ridge has been a blast from the past for her.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to learn about some of the stuff we used to do when we were younger,” she said.

Jones said the experience will also help her on her way to becoming a pediatric nurse.

Bonnie Wong, Meadow Ridge principal, said the visits provide a win-win situation for both sets of students.

“It benefits our kids by providing another person who’s going to be interested in their achievement,” Wong said. “It also gives them something to look forward to and starts them thinking about their future careers.”

To learn more about Kent School District Career and Technical Education classes, visit www.kent.k12.wa.us/ksd/cte.

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