Education outside of the classroom

Teachers are speaking and students are listening while watching the clock tick down. For most students, seventh period is the last stop of the school day. Meanwhile, Ben Sharabi (12) and other students in Work Release are off campus at their jobs. 

Career and Technical Education (CTE) are classes designed to help students determine what they want to accomplish in their lives by educating them about different job options. Work Release is one class offered at White Station that allows students to explore these careers. 

For students in the class, a typical day looks different depending on a student’s work schedule. Students who are not working will stay in the class while others who are will leave campus. For Sharabi, who works as a server assistant at Folk’s Folly Prime Steakhouse, working during the weekdays requires a plan. 

“I wake up at six, go to school, then when seventh period starts I’ll go to the gym … immediately after I will go home, shower and dress up for work,” Sharabi said. “I am very busy and don’t have a lot of time to chill. It feels very rewarding when I finally get home from work because my day is finally over after doing stuff nonstop since 6 a.m. I usually do most of my school work during school, because I am a Teacher’s Assistant during second period and have a Study Hall during fifth period.”

While Work Release allows students the chance to leave school early, there are other pros about participating in the program. Students gain more insight into their future by completing packets that help them plan their long-term professional goals, help them plan their post-graduation plans and allow them to discuss the outlines of safety precautions that are discussed at their jobs. 

“Sometimes it can get difficult because my shift is from 4:45-10:30, so I don’t have a lot of time after school, but Work-Based Learning gives me a little more [time],” Sharabi said. “I am able to go run errands so by the time I finish … everyone else is just getting out of school. I feel accomplished after a long day of school and work because I learned something at school and then went to make money.”

 A student in Work-Based Learning has to be able to prioritize school, work, their social life and their health. A key component that students interested in the program should have is good time management.

“If you are bad with procrastination, working during the week may not be for you,” Sharabi said. “If you have projects or papers you need to write and the only time you do them is after school, it may not work for you. You don’t want to be consistently stuck writing papers at 11 p.m. until late night … good sleep [and] hygiene is even more important for productivity.”

 Work Release teaches students like Sharabi that the key to staying successful in life is to be responsible by being organized and disciplined 

“I learned how to manage my time,” Sharabi said. “I have to be able to balance all my school work as well as any errands I have to do outside of school as well as make sure I get to work on time. It teaches me how to hustle nonstop.”