High School Career Center Helps Students Find a First Job, College, and Career
the hall from the counseling center at North Tonawanda High School is a
room dedicated to helping high school students answer the age-old
question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
its bank of computers and library of print resources, the career center
offers students a dedicated space to do online and print research about
colleges, majors, job opportunities and careers.
“The career center is almost like the library of the counseling center,” said Lori Graves, career center director.
the direction of the counseling center, the career center offers
students the opportunity to research careers, colleges and scholarships.
career center director Marion Maziarz retired in January, Mrs. Graves
left her teacher aide position to become the new director. Except for a
three-year span when she earned her degree, Mrs. Graves has worked for
the district as an aide and in the community education program since
Graves is so energetic. Since she has worked in the school district,
she was able to step right into this role. She’s absolutely amazing,”
said Melissa Giles, high school counselor and department coordinator.
January, the career center’s calendar has quickly filled up with career
and college guest speakers who visit to give practical advice to
speakers have talked about careers as a physical therapist, fashion
designer, business owner, physician assistant, journalist, architect,
interior designer, animator, veterinarian, engineer, chef, accountant
and forensic crime scene investigator.
Buffalo News reporter Dan Herbeck visited the high school to discuss
journalism, he drew 42 students to his session. Similar career
presentations on engineering drew 31 students; 20 for the physician and
24 for the physician’s assistant session.
speakers are chosen based on a career survey that all high school
students take each fall. Mrs. Graves used the survey results to tabulate
the most popular job choices listed and then arranged for a speaker on
She also works with college admission offices to have them visit the school.
guest speakers and college admission officials at school is ideal, but
students can find it hard to fit one more thing into their busy
schedules. Mrs. Graves tries to schedule some presentations during the
lunch periods from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
also works with various teachers to bring the guest speakers into a
class. A recent session on interview skills during an Academy of Finance
class was given by Becky Restorff-Billi from Wegman’s who gave students
numerous tips on filling out applications, interviewing, researching a
company and following up after the interview with a thank you note.
the hallway outside the career center, brightly colored signs announce
upcoming sessions. Students can also sign up for Remind101 notifications
and sessions are announced in the mornings.
are trying to get more students down to use the resources for college
preparation and job opportunities,” said Mrs. Graves, adding that she
plans to offer group sessions for students in the fall and winter next