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The View from My Seat: Merrit Jones

Blog Post Episode 5

By Merrit Jones, ALL4SC fellow and an advisor with Student Voice

In Episode 5 of ElevatEd4SC, I had the chance to talk with Linda Funkhauser, a senior at Lexington High School. She brought some front-lines insight into what Lexington One is doing well to prepare students for life beyond graduation. Linda also participates in River Bluff High School’s Center for Law and Global Policy and is involved in the school’s historic preservation society.

“Not to pat my school district on the back but…” Linda starts her response to the question: “What does the future look like for you as it pertains to our beautiful state of South Carolina?” in ElevatED4SC Episode 5. 

She says education in the future should look alot like Lexington One. “I think we have a great success rate in both the workforce and in higher education with the job-based classes we have. I’m in  the law center, but we also have a medical center. You can get a CNA certification. You can also get certified in welding or in cosmetology. These certifications lead to success later in life. And I think these classes are important to implement in every school district in South Carolina.”

Linda’s point about implementing this type of opportunity for students to experience job options while in high school is right on target!  

Our news media is flooded with stories of the issues that plague our schools and classroom. In our third pandemic-disrupted school year, positive news stories about schools are few and far between.

But what if we could build a system of schools where bragging about the good things schools are doing became the norm? In the episode, Linda highlights the opportunity that access to internships provided and how they’ve expanded and deepened her own learning, including a passion for history and historical preservation.

Discovering interests, building skills, and gaining hands-on experience are things students constantly share with me as priorities. Last spring, ALL4SC, in partnership with Student Voice, launched an asset mapping project with students at Fairfield Central High School. Students throughout the process surfaced many bright spots and identified internships as one place to expand collaboration.

It started with a conversation with the guidance department that opened a dialogue about what kinds of opportunities already existed and what students might want to add. So often the best place to start is as simple as asking students what they want to see in school or what they want to learn. More of these intergenerational conversations will lead us toward a future of South Carolina schools that we’re all eager to pat on the back.

Merrit is a regular contributor to ElevatED4SC. She attended River Bluff High School and was involved with its Center for Law and Global Policy which set the stage for her college major and vision for her career.

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