Up to the challenge

July 30, 2016

High school students interested in health care, technology and entrepreneurship compete, collaborate at JCCC

Three career-related events at Johnson County Community College push high school students to collaborate, concentrate and create.

The Healthcare Challenge and the Entrepreneurship Challenge joined the Technology Challenge to interest students in the tasks and problems facing each one of these career paths.

Ginny Krumme, director for Career Pathways at JCCC, said the college decided to build on the successes of the technology event, which has a multi-year history, with two new challenges.

“The Healthcare Challenge and the Entrepreneurship Challenge are brand new this year, and they concentrate on bringing high school students together to collaborate as teams,” she said.

Working together to learn

In the new challenges, the emphasis isn’t on competing with rival schools. Instead, students from high schools in Johnson and Douglas counties work together.

“It’s a unique event in that it isn’t Blue Valley West versus Olathe North versus some other school,” she said. “Instead, it’s one student from Blue Valley West, one student from Olathe North – students from different high schools working together,” Krumme said.

High school teachers loved the concept of a health care challenge. Andrea Pyle, health careers instructor for Eudora High School, emailed Krumme with this comment: “(The students) said they were really nervous on the way down but that hands down it was one of their favorite field trips ever!...The students loved the day.” “

Students pre-selected by their teachers met at the Olathe Health Education Center (OHEC) this spring to practice making beds, taking blood pressure and performing CPR. In all, students rotated amongst seven stations. The topper for the day was the finals for a medical-terminology spelling bee.

The best part of the day for one student? “I got to meet other like-minded students interested in health care.”

Innovation for entrepreneurs

Local entrepreneurs helped out with the Entrepreneurship Challenge, where students created and presented their projects created to overcome a unique set of challenges. Meca Challenge, a division of the Center of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development, leads experiential learning sessions like this one throughout the Kansas City area.

The Technology Challenge allowed students to compete in fields such as animation, game development, robotics and welding. As the “original” challenge, Krumme said Technology Challenge still matches school against school, but she’d like to see students from different schools on the same team here, too.

“Workplaces are collaborative environments, and the new skills – the soft skills of working with others – are also important,” Krumme said. “These challenges help students learn more about their career interest and what JCCC has to offer. And they’re fun.”

For more information about Career Pathways, including possible participation in next year’s challenges, contact Krumme at 913-469-8500 ext. 3013.