Bettering students and the community

Mio AuSable seeking mentors for senior project


MIO — Mio AuSable High School is looking for volunteers to help with a project the school has assigned to its seniors.

The project calls for students to seek out a professional to do at least 12 hours of job shadowing or equivalent work with over the semester. The student must then create a 15-minute presentation that includes a demonstration of the work done at the job they shadowed. That presentation is given in front of a panel of local business owners who will judge it based on performance and content. The project is worth 20 percent of a student’s grade.

This is all part of Amanda Thiel’s English class for seniors at Mio, and this is the fourth year she’s done it. Although it may sound unorthodox for an English class to have a project centered around the workplace, Thiel said she believes her class is the perfect place for it.

“Some students ask, ‘Why do I need to take an English class?’” she said. “The answer is you’re going to need it to get into college, or to get a job.”

The project does not necessarily have to be about a job shadow experience, Thiel said. Though that is the direction students generally take it, some have done more creative things.

“We are lacking in music and now these students are looking for a way to provide that — something they were unable to have when they were coming up here,” she said.

This year Thiel said one student wants to create a glee club, while another wants to start a fishing club. She said in the past students have run chess clubs and Bible studies that ended up extending beyond the class into the rest of the school year. Thiel said this project can be a way for the students to better not only themselves, but their community as well.

Many of Thiel’s students are looking to get started on their project, but have had a hard time doing so.

“I’ve got some students that are motivated to get started early,” she said. “Some have been unable to find (mentors) so far.”

Thiel said she needs roughly 50 mentors for her 50 students this semester. The schedule will be completely up to the mentor and the student. She said some have done their full semester's worth of shadowing in a single day, while others do it over time like with the chess club example. Managing time, learning how to approach people and problems more efficiently, and training for interviews are some of the things Thiel said this project will teach the students that she couldn’t do in a normal classroom setting.

Thiel said the number-one concern she hears from students is not finding a person to job shadow, but the 15-minute presentation at the end. She said her students often have a fear of public speaking. She said although it is daunting at first, the students generally feel a moment of accomplishment afterward that gives them a noticeable confidence boost for the future. Thiel said over the years she’s done this, it has led to some students getting job offers, and others internships.

Anyone interested in volunteering to be a mentor or a panel member at the end of the semester can email Thiel at


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