New requirement has high school freshman picking career path

Students at Decatur Central High School. (WTHR Staff)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — High school freshmen are facing new and tougher graduation requirements. The Indiana Department of Education wants them better prepared for work or college.

In addition to reading, writing and math, freshman at Decatur Central High School are studying themselves. The 14-year-old’s are trying to answer the most difficult question of their lives, "What will they do after graduation?"

"I don't imagine my life during graduation or after," Jeremya Pearson said. "It's scary but exciting."

Before being handed diplomas, students in the class of 2023 will have to demonstrate they have the education, the skills or experience to go to work, continue their education or enlist in the military.

Rachel Kinnanan and other freshman said they are feeling confused and overwhelmed.

"It's like do you want to do this? Or maybe some days I want to change my mind and do this," Kinnanan said.

At Decatur Central High School students must take college and career readiness classes.

Student working on picking a future career. (WTHR Staff)

"I see them come in as freshman who really don't know where they are going," said teacher Renee' Knoop.

She and other teachers help students assess their skills and interests while exploring career possibilities. They research careers on their tablets and visit various companies and workplaces.

The experience opened new opportunities for Gabby Mesa.

"Before I just wanted to work somewhere with art," Mesa said. "I do like art, but the technology is very interesting."

Emily Addair thinks she might like to work in health care.

"What I want to get out of this class is how to write résumés," Addair said. "How to get my credits up. How to get my grades up."

Some students will suddenly realize their dream career is a nightmare.

"That is actually very valuable, knowing what you don’t want to do helps as much as what you want to do," Knoop said.

As sophomores students begin enrolling in classes and internships needed to make their after graduation plans a reality and continue that until graduation.