WINNSBORO — “In all things you do, you want to have a positive first impression because you never know when you are being interviewed,” speaker Brooks Harper told juniors and seniors at Fairfield Central High School.
His speech on soft skills development, interview techniques and work ethic gave the students another exposure to the concepts they will need to take the first step toward success in the workplace — getting hired. Conservative clothing, good eye contact, good posture, a smile, a firm handshake, and a neat appearance will help one’s chances of making that good first impression.
Harper had their attention from the get-go, to the delight of FCHS staff.
“This was a very attentive group this morning,” FCHS Guidance Counselor Ken Lathan said.
The idea Harper conveyed was that students need to be willing to invest time, effort and resources in themselves because that is the best investment they will ever make.
The 1989 Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, Harper remained involved with the organization as a speaker and liaison. One of his duties was to mentor former FCHS student William Cain in preparation for Cain’s competing for State Youth of the Year.
That connection through United Way brought him into contact with FCHS administrators and ultimately to campus to share what he calls life changing content with the students.
Later in the month Harper returned to mentor William Cain’s sister, Shantel, who also is up for State Youth of the Year. He did one-on-one training to mentor Cain for the competition. They remained in touch when Cain, now a sophomore at USC, went to college and Harper helped Cain establish a six person networking group among his peers to help prepare him as a student leader.
Other conference sessions from Career Week included: “IT-ology,” “Understanding Careers in Health Care,” STEM and Alternative Energy Careers” and a session on SCANA careers and summer internships.
Representatives from Pure Power, S.C. Public Safety, the USDA, Midlands Works and Fairfield Behavioral Health spoke at three days worth of conferences held on campus at FCHS. Sirr Purr, the Carolina Panthers mascot, also attended to add some levity to the week and reward the students for being so attentive and goal-minded during the conference sessions.
Thanks to the efforts of the faculty and staff at Fairfield Central High School, students got a peek at their futures and opportunities that not only are in Fairfield County for them but that lie beyond the county.
By showing these youth what is out there, it is hoped that will motivate them to pursue academic rigor with passion and to dedicate themselves to a life’s work that suits their gifts, talents and inclinations.