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School News

By Sarah Petrovich, TJHS senior

TJ_Sophia Stoicovy
Sophia Stoicovy
TJ_Shawn McSwiggen
Shawn McSwiggen

The ability to gain experience for one's intended career path or passions prior to high school departure usually sets students apart from their peers. Now, it is an opportunity seniors at Thomas Jefferson High School have the privilege of embarking on. TJ’s work-study program gives students the chance to gain exposure to work or have extended study outside of the school building walls and help them become, “Future Ready.”

Kenneth Gruntz, TJ’s Work-Study Coordinator and Industrial Technology teacher, simply describes the goal of the program to, “help prepare students for what comes next.”

For high school students deciding on their next chapter, the possibilities are limitless.

“This program aids students based on their priorities, whether that be through, valuable skills that help them in a future career, learn that a certain field is not for them, or learn communication skills from a job, the benefits could be endless,” said Gruntz.

Being a part of a program like this has been a dream for Gruntz since the beginning of his career, due to his experience in a work-study program at his own high school. His reasoning behind asking the previous administration to become involved at TJ was that he felt he benefited in many ways from his experience and wanted to give that opportunity to students here.

For Ayaan Ansari, the work-study opportunity has been beneficial. He is taking seven classes at Carnegie Mellon University in math and computer science and joined a math club. After his CMU classes, he goes to the Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC Presbyterian, where he is analyzing flow cytometry data and doing T cell immunology experiments on mice.  Ansari describes his work-study involvement as a “wonderful experience” that allows him to truly learn about what he might do in a future career and what field best suits him.

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