Interim allows students to explore hobbies, potential career paths

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Intro to guitar was among the 22 different sessions offered at MFL MarMac High School’s Interim on April 22. The bi-annual event is meant to help students explore a variety of hobbies and potential careers. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Archery was another session offered at Interim. Most of the activities offered were hands-on, allowing students to not only learn about their interests, but also do the activity itself.

Todd Berry, with Driftless Drones, speaks with some eager students about drones.

The majority of sessions were free, but a few, like trapshooting and cake decorating, required a small fee.

Tang soo do self defense was one session offered on-campus at Interim.

“The kids have a day to explore really cool things,” noted teacher Anne Wuebker, who was also one of the Interim organizers. “They learn about things they don’t learn in the classroom, and those outside-school aspects are valuable.” Here, students learn about air brush makeup and hairstyles.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

MFL MarMac High School students had the opportunity to experience a variety of hobbies and potential careers during Interim, held April 22.

“It’s career-oriented,” said teacher Angie Killian, one of the organizers, of the bi-annual event. “It’s an opportunity to allow students to explore career interests, opportunities and hobbies they’ve never tried before or didn’t know they could do.”

Twenty-two different activities were offered throughout the day, which was split into four blocks. Most sessions took up one block, while others took up two, allowing students to participate in as few as two and as many as four sessions. Students selected their top picks and organizers did their best to match the kids up with their greatest interests.

The topics were varied, including aviation, drones, metal art, up-cycling wood restoration, reclaimed wood sign making, cultural cooking, cake decorating, wait staff/prep cooking, fire department, survival skills, guitar, dancing, car maintenance, trout fishing, trapshooting, archery, tang soo do self defense, massage therapy, hair care and updos, airbrush make up and hairstyles, law enforcement and photography.

The majority of sessions were free, but a few, like trapshooting and cake decorating, required a small fee. While most of the sessions took place at school, some occurred off-campus. For example, those interested in law enforcement went to the Clayton County Jail, survival skills was held at the campground at Bloody Run County Park, trout fishing was done at Big Springs Trout Hatchery, trapshooting at Osborne, aviation at the Monona Airport, car maintenance at an auto body in Luana and firefighting at the Monona Fire Department’s training house outside Monona.

“The kids have a day to explore really cool things,” noted teacher Anne Wuebker, who was also one of the Interim organizers. “They learn about things they don’t learn in the classroom, and those outside-school aspects are valuable.”

Interim is especially valuable, added teacher and organizer Jessica Peterson, because it engages students who aren’t always interested in the daily school routine.

It helps, said Wuebker, that students not only learn about their interests, but they also get to do the activity itself. They’re fingerprinted, photographed and issued a uniform at the jail; plan a meal; practice search and rescue in a smoke-filled home; and try the newest hairstyle trends.

“Almost everything is pretty hands-on,” Wuebker mentioned. “You see it first-hand and you’re making something you can take home at the end of the day. They learn a life skill in a day or develop an interest they never knew they had.”

Killian said Interim opens teachers’ eyes to the interests of their students. They can also tap into that knowledge following Interim and make connections with the kids over their interests. She noted that survival skills, drones, trout fishing and law enforcement were some of the most-requested activities. 

The fire department was also popular once students learned the session would be more hands-on, Peterson added: “You’re not just going to see a truck.”

Killian said she’s appreciative of the school staff and community members who teach the sessions.

“It’s a big project,” she said. “A lot of members from the community work together to make it happen.”

These community members give students a connection to an occupation or hobby they might not have otherwise had, Killian stated.

“They can talk right to the person in the occupation,” she said. “It opens that discussion.”

“It’s a comfortable, relaxed and informal setting to have those conversations,” Wuebker added.

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