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Groundhog Job Shadow Day
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Members of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and Board of Education collaborated to coordinate a job shadow day for high school seniors Friday.

Almost 40 business members of the chamber volunteered to participate in Friday's program - the first of its kind for Newton County.

Shannon Davis, chamber economic development director, said the day was meant to emulate Junior Achievement's National Groundhog Job Shadow Day and show businesses their future workforce.

"It's mostly about putting students in touch with our resources in the community and showing them that what they're learning in the classroom is beneficial in the workforce," Davis said.

She added hopefully students will want to work in the county or return to the county after college.

Cynthia Marvel, Newton County School System career related education youth apprenticeship coordinator, said the board of education agreed with the chamber on the event's mission.

"Job shadowing provides a valuable experience for all students, offering the opportunity for an up-close look at the real world of work," Marvel said. "As our students job shadow career mentors in their places of work they are exposed to all aspects of specific job assignments and responsibilities.

She added students were nominated by their teachers and matched by their interests to a volunteering business.

The Arts Association in Newton County hosted three high school students Friday. Arts association Executive Director Buncie Lanners said she discussed her organization's work with the students as well as the differences between non-profit and for-profit organizations.

"Ms. Buncie explained to us that everything you could ever do in life would be better if you could take business classes," said Ben Oravec, Eastside High School senior.

Lanners said no matter what career students intended to pursue, a business background would help steer them toward success.

Oravec said his ultimate goal would be to become a professional musician, which he said knowledge of business would greatly support.

Lanners said she would offer a complimentary ticket to the students to any spring event of their choice so they could experience the end result of the arts association's hard work to organize events.

As a mother of a high school junior and college freshman, Lanners said educating the community's youth is extremely important to her.

"I know these years are pivotal to discovering what paths you want to explore into adulthood," Lanners said.

Marvel said through job shadowing students not only are able to increase their knowledge of the skills necessary in certain careers but also to make more informed decisions about their futures.

"We greatly appreciate all our community participants and the Chamber of Commerce for their help in coordinating Groundhog Job Shadow Day," Marvel said. "We look forward to growing Groundhog Job Shadow Day into an annual event."