Interviews can be stressful at any age, but the pressure increases for high school students, who are often going to their first, high-stakes interviews for jobs, scholarships and college admittance.
Fortunately, personal finance teacher Lynne Bridge is making sure Tolland High School students are as prepared as can be, which is why her class participated in a mock luncheon and interview with local business leaders on Friday.
"The art of networking and informal conversation is dying," Bridge said of what she's observed in the days of instant messaging and texting.
"With this in-house field trip, the students can really connect with the process."
A number of "mentors" stopped in on Friday to strengthen those crucial job-landing skills with students. Nerac President Kevin Bouley, Tolland Town Manager Steven Werbner, Deborah Thorpe of Travelers Insurance, Star Hill Athletic Facility owner Mike Smida, UConn Career Services Career staff members Neal Robinson and Laura Newbury and Beth Acelin of Rockville Bank all helped out for the day.
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"It's the first time I've had a formal interview in this format," said senior Chiara Elwood, who said she spent time researching the interviewers and thinking of questions she may want to ask.
"It's pretty nerve-wracking but that means I'm already learning something," she continued. "This is definitely something every student could benefit from."
Neal Robinson from UConn's Career Services served as one of the mentors for the day. He said he was impressed with the depth of the exercise for students. He received cover letters and resumes from all the participants before the mock interview, and he approved of what he saw.
"It was really impressive because the students were talking about their organization, their skills sets in the resumes and cover letters," he said. "They were well-articulated."
Check out photos of the luncheon portion of the day posted above.