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West Sabine ISD hosts business symposium

Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:44 PM CDT
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PINELAND, Texas (KTRE) - The real world can pose challenges but one for Sabine County school district, they look to ease the transition for their students.

In its 18th year, the annual West Sabine ISD Business Symposium took place Friday.

“In the school system, we spend so much time worried about testing and making sure we’ve covered all the material that we have to, to make sure they’re successful on the test,” Career and Technology Teacher Kay Welch said, “that sometimes we let things like reality fall into the cracks and that is what this day is about.”

Career and Technology Teacher Kay Welch said business leaders from various industries work with dozens of high school students in different sessions like mock interviews, financial success, how to make a great first impression, and how to dress to impress.

“It’s about giving them an introduction into the real world, the skills, the qualities, the characteristics, the attitude that is needed and employers look for,” Welch said.

Senior Luke Birdwell said he was interested in was the financial session.

“One of the first things you think when you get out of school is about buying a house and land,” he said. “We were talking about student loans, credit, how does credit work, FDIC, what can you take out, interest, APR and all of that. I learned about that. I’ve been asking questions about that. Loans and getting loans from a bank.”

“It really shed some light on what I need to start out and where I need to start at,” Birdwell said. “Am I willing to pay this, what are the terms of the loan, how many months? Getting a job that fits your financial status. If you want to find somewhere that fits you, are you going to be able to pay it? Don’t overload your boat right when you get out, but take in steps. Life is life. Let the Lord lead it and let Him do it. Everything will always work out for you.

He said the symposium was an eye-opening experience.

“I’ll be honest, when I came in here, I thought I knew everything,” Birdwell said. “I’ve had two or three interviews. I’ve had two or three jobs. It shed a lot of light on what do I need to do to prepare myself that I’m about to put myself in.”

The district’s culinary program, led by Family Consumer Science Teacher Sherry Spring, also put on a luncheon to feed the body and the mind.

“I hope the students who are sitting down eating learn proper etiquette, and of course, my students we go over safety and sanitation before we come over and serve people with a smile,” Spring said.

“You’re probably able to help people, later in the future if you learn how to cook and everything, so I like helping people,” sophomore Emily Embry said.

“Although I am not personally going into a culinary career, I will be able to cook for myself, and that’s one of the best parts about being in an advanced culinary arts program,” said junior Bailee Galloway.

“I’ve had students that have gotten jobs because of the mock interviews they did here,” Welch said. “I’ve had students here say I went to a formal dinner with some friends, and I was the only one at the table with table manners. They just learn so much.”

Administrators said this year’s symposium featured business leaders who went through the same program when they attended West Sabine ISD. They said they hope to continue the symposium for years to come.

“Just because we come from a small town doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and compete with people who are from Houston, Austin, or the larger cities,” Welch said. “That’s another reason we do this. To give them that information and help them build some groundwork so that they can compete for jobs.”

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