SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — What the future holds after high school is a big unknown for many students. A national program in its second year in the Sioux Falls School District aims to help kids figure that out.
Roosevelt sophomore Tayhana First In Trouble joined JAG, or Jobs for America’s Graduates, last year.
“I would say overall it’s a 10 out of 10, I really love this class and it’s guiding me through high school and after high school I’m really excited to see what I can do like with this class,” First in Trouble said.
As for why she has such high praise, First In Trouble says it’s mostly because of Nicole Fette, the JAG instructor at Roosevelt.
“It’s the best job in the world, it’s amazing, I truly hit the jackpot,” Fette said.
Fette says JAG is both a club and a class. It had its first year at Roosevelt last year and has since expanded to Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington High Schools.
“It’s most ideal for the student who is still trying to figure out what’s going to be the next step for them,” Fette said.
While it’s relatively new to the Sioux Falls School District, the JAG program has been around for more than 40 years. During that time, it has helped one and a half million younger people prepare for their futures: students like Roosevelt sophomore Sha’Vell Odell.
“I want to go to Southeast Technical College first, and then I don’t know where I want to go next, but I know I want to go there first,” Roosevelt sophomore Sha’Vell Odell said.
Odell would like to be a nurse someday.
“It’s been really great. I learned about my career that I want to do, what college I want to go to, what my plans are after high school,” Odell said.
“We talk about careers outside of school and for your future,” Roosevelt senior Sydnee Brown said.
Roosevelt senior, Sydnee Brown, wants to become a detective or a lawyer. With JAG you never know who will join Fette at the front of the class or where the class will take you.
“A usual day in jag looks like we walk in the classroom, we sit down, and Miss Fette talks to us about the job sites that we’re about to go to, and the job shadowing opportunities we have. We have a lot of guest speakers come in,” Brown said.
“Two weeks ago we went to Subaru, last week we went to a construction site and they talked to us about blueprints and like, how they’re building houses, it’s just a fun experience to go from business to business and learn about how they do stuff,” Allington said.
“The whole purpose of the program is to prepare kids for what comes after high school, so career exploration, job shadowing, post-secondary exploration, all of the things, learning how to do interviews, learning how to introduce yourself, how to advocate for yourself,” Fette said.
It’s like things that I’m actually going to use outside of school and when I get outside of high school,” First In Trouble said.
Even if a student doesn’t know exactly what they want to do next, JAG gives them the tools they need to succeed in any field.
“I think the kids are forming bonds with each other and developing the communication skills and the self-confidence and all of the things that they need to do well after high school,” Fette said.
Fette says there are 45 kids at Roosevelt who are a part of JAG this year, while there were 13 last year.