JDA students getting career experience

New initiatives at Jefferson Davis Academy are aimed at giving students real world experience.
Eight seniors are taking the careers class, which the private school in Blackville started last school year. They started a building construction class this year.
"We want them to wake up and see the world," said Melinda Price, the teacher of the careers class. "We're branching out and beginning to offer new things to prepare them for college and careers."
Price recently took her students to Enterprise Bank in Barnwell where they received a tour by Pauline Smith, the vice president and branch manager. The trip allowed the students to explore banking as a career and see the importance of finances and having a budget.
The class has also been working on a section on independent living. Students were each given a job and salary. They researched apartments and took a trip to the grocery store to see how much food they could afford to buy. "A lot of them were quite surprised," said Price. "It was an eye opener for them."
These new insights and skills should help the students down the road as they get out on their own. "We want to be sure they're focused on what they want to do," said Price, though to get there they need to study and make good grades.
Throughout the year, the class will hear from guest speakers, tour more businesses, and research a chosen career.
While the careers class is new to JDA, Price has been teaching similar classes for many years. She led the school-to-work program at Barnwell High School when the state chose the school to pilot the program in 1994.