A set of online video chats, while learning remotely, helped a group of high school students explore potential college and career options and pass on some wisdom to younger students.
Shawnee Mission East students studying business this spring joined a series of Lunch and Learn sessions. Each one included a professional, some local and some from across the country, sharing details about their career experience. The sessions were so successful that at the conclusion of the spring, Jennifer Hair, business teacher, said plans were in the works to continue the series.
Lunch and Learn participants talked to business owners and professionals from Charlie Hustle, Facebook, the NFL, and Rieger & Co. One session featured SM East graduate Mylinh Chau, who currently works with NBA player Steph Curry to form his brand story.
“Seeing and helping students engage in timely, real-world learning during this historic time in all our lives was our main goal,” Hair explained. “We feel very strongly about staying connected. We also want our Lancers to see beyond the walls of the classroom and building to their future so we have hosted several SME Alumni as well as community members in the SMSD boundaries.”
One of the common “buzz words” discussed at the meetings was how to “pivot,” especially in light of the pandemic, Hair noted.
“One of the major takeaways from the meetings is that it is very important to be able to adapt a business,” she added. “It is amazing to me how the speakers have thrived in this time! From enhanced marketing to making hand-sanitizer, they have not let this time decide the fate of their business.”
The speakers inspired Ella Rogers, sophomore, to choose a career she will love, she said. While learning remotely, she used some of the time to make connections and work on a goal to publish a children’s book.
“The class that I am technically enrolled in is business law, but I have really enjoyed learning about aspects of business as a whole from the speakers,” Rogers shared. “My favorite part of this is that I get to listen to real people who went to my same high school and have made names for themselves. Very inspiring!”
Some of the students and teachers also used one Lunch and Learn session to provide their own sets of advice, too. The high school students invited students from Indian Hills Middle School to talk about the high school experience.
“I heard from many students, that is was eye-opening and inspiring how quickly these entrepreneurs pivoted their passion within hours,” she added. “Passion for people can take the form of many different products and services right now, but the goal remains the same. People helping people.”