JA JobSpark helps 8th graders answer the 'what do you want to be' question

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - As an 8th grade social studies teacher at Christel House Academy, Clark Wehmeier waits for it to click.

For his students to really truly get it. That "ah-ha" moment. And to ignite the spark that'll set them up for the rest of their lives.

"I think my favorite part was whenever we got to learn about interior design and architect," one student told Mr. Wehmeier

Back in September, these students, along with other 8th graders from all over Marion County, got to go to the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

"They get there, and they're just blown away," said Kara Moreland, college and careers administrator at Christel House Academy.

This is JA JobSpark. More than 100 businesses, professionals and all kinds of career options, right at their fingertips.

"We can read about it, wWe can watch videos, but an opportunity to actually do when you're in 8th grade, there's never been anything like that offered to our students before," said Moreland.

Here, they started figuring out what they like, and even what they don't.

"That's when I found out I don't want to do welding," said one student.

"I still wouldn't know some of the things that were there were actually there. I didn't think there were so many components when it came to technology and engineering or government," said 8th grader Jaquelin Escobedo, 13.

"They taught us more than what we learn in school," said 14-year-old Maverick Surber, an 8th grader

But in turn, what they learned through JA JobSpark can be built upon in the classroom and then carried beyond the halls of Christel House.

"It's not just career, career, career, but what makes you a good person. Taking a moment to say thank you. Being able to speak to professionals in a professional way," Moreland said.

Every 8th grader at Christel House Academy goes through JA JobSpark. It's kind of a rite of passage.

This is the third year Christel House has worked with JA JobSpark.

Background on JA JobSpark

JA JobSpark is a Junior Achievement initiative for 8th grade students.

Junior Achievement of Central Indiana educates and inspires young people in the areas of career exploration, employability/life skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and philanthropy through hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for children in kindergarten through high school.

For more information about Junior Achievement programs please visit: www.jaindy.org or www.jajobspark.org or contact Kacy Wendling at kacy@jaindy.org.