More than 200 seniors came prepared to school Thursday, not solely for their classes, but to interview for a job. Hosting a series of mock interviews held during morning class sessions, Dundalk High invited more than 35 local business partners, alumni and community leaders to act as interviewers and help students hone their presentation and career skills.
The School to Career coordinators at DHS, Nancy Cassell, Nancy Adler and Heather Wooldridge, organized the mock interview event. Cassell was on hand to oversee the day’s events.
“We invite members of the community to participate, from BGE, State Farm, Baltimore County Public Schools, Social Security Administration, the North Point Library, First Financial Credit Union and many more,” Cassell said, noting these individuals volunteer their time to help prepare students for the real-life interviews they will be facing in the coming months.
“We work with our students their entire senior year in their English classes to prepare them for this day—everyone comes dressed for success, just like a real interview,” Cassell said.
The volunteer interviewers appeared genuinely inquisitive and thoughtful as they approached each student, spending up to 30 minutes getting to know the young men and women and their career aspirations.
As Cassell and other faculty helped to oversee the event, other students also played an important role. Seniors Savannah Honaker and Emily Karl, and underclassmen Danielle Mack and Ashley Thompson, worked as assistants directing the morning’s activities. The student workers kept the process flowing and circulated the room to ensure everything was going accordingly.
Entering the school’s library, the students' excitement and nervousness was apparent—many tapped their feet or shook their legs waiting to be called on.
During the interview, students worked through a number of questions with their interviewer and then filled out self-evaluations immediately afterward. They discussed the self-evaluation with their interviewers, who then provided them with reviews of their own.
One of the interviewers, Roxine Phillips, an alumna from 1971, has participated in this event for the last four years for several reasons.
“Not only because this is my alma mater, but because I have a passion for helping students to reach their full potential, and my goal is to prepare them to make that school to work transition,” Phillips said.
Interviewer Justin Bland, a First Financial Credit Union employee, interviewed senior Shaun Gibson. Gibson had faced interviews before, as he is currently employed as a student, but said, “After this interview, I’ll be ready for anything.”
“This interview was more intense, but I wasn’t nervous, because I was prepared,” Gibson said. “My teacher Mrs. Donohue did a great job getting us ready.” Gibson is interested in becoming a carpenter after graduation.
The interviews were open to all 251 senior students. Every student dressed in his best business attire and was ready to share a prepared resume. The atmosphere was open, inviting, and the first taste of employer-like interviewing that many of these students had ever experienced.
The students learned to put their best foot forward and to talk about their accomplishments with others.
Bland, in his second year interviewing at DHS and a 2000 alum, said, “It’s just wonderful to reconnect with DHS and to connect with the students, asking real-life questions, getting them to think about different scenarios and helping them to relate to employers.”
“I’m really happy to be here,” Bland added. “It’s an exciting time for these students.”