LAURINBURG — The eight-week 4-H Workforce Development program ended on Thursday, graduating 10 middle school students with a head start on building their futures.
The 4-H program taught students basic skills while they completed an eight-week course that was split into two parts: a classroom component where they learned five work-related lessons and two weeks in the field getting hand-on experience at a variety of work-sites.
In the classroom, students learned about building their unique brand, communication, conflict resolution, customer interaction, responsibility and time management — essentially the basic skills of workmanship.
“It’s everything that you need in the workplace to be a contributing employee or own your own business,” said Angela D. Galloway, 4-H Extension agent.
Then each of the students were paired with a local agency or business, where they were required to volunteer for a minimum of 20 hours of on-the-job training.
The agencies helped provide a hands-on learning experience for the students. Each student was paired with a work site they were interested in, but one that would also provide a challenge.
The work sites available were Wagram Active Learning, Partners in Ministry, Hi-Lites Clothing, AT&T Laurinburg, Scots for Youth, 4-H EFNEP, NC Works Career Center, Scotland County Memorial Library, Storytelling Arts Center and Scotland County Parks and Rec.
At Thursday’s event, students got the chance to celebrate the completion of their eight week course. They gave speeches, watched a video that recapped their time together, danced for the audience to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” received graduation certificates and ate cake.
After the fun and eventful evening, the students have no plans to forget what they learned.
“My plan is to keep volunteering,” said GeNazshja Gilchrist, a 13-year-old from Laurinburg. “It was wonderful. I plan to keep working hard, keep doing good, keep up on my grades and achieve my goals.”
Jailyn Farmer, a 12-year-old from Laurinburg is excited to go back to school now that she’s completed the program.
“I plan to go back to school, of course, and I can buy some school supplies and make good grades,” said Farmer, who volunteered with the Scotland Memorial Library.
“It prepares us for our future and most kids, they don’t get to do that,” she said.
Galloway, who assisted in organizing the program, said she enjoys what it does for the young people involved.
“The kids have a hands-on experience and the community came together and supported the betterment of the youth here,” said Galloway.
Each student received a $100 stipend for completing the program.
“We hope that they’ll carry this forward and whenever they are old enough to work, that they’ll have the skills and experience that they need,” Galloway said.
Students who completed the 4-H Workforce Development program are: Teleyia Bostic, Jailyn Farmer, GeNazshja Gilchrist, Quen Jaymon, Alexis Locklear, Walter Morrison, Destiny Nealy, Asjah Swindell, Jeremiah Wall, and Robert Willis.
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.