Aspire Gorham is for everyone! This community-wide initiative encourages students in every grade, in every Gorham school, to think about their futures. Collaborating with businesses and community organizations in and around Gorham, the Aspire Gorham team is connecting students to professionals for career exposure, exploration, and experience opportunities from kindergarten through 12th grade.
EXPOSURE: Younger students are exposed to a wide variety of careers through group tours of businesses, classroom speakers, and school-wide activities. The goal is to help them connect the concept of work, jobs, and careers to the people and products they see in their lives. Participating businesses and organizations include the Gorham Police and Fire Departments, Hannaford, EcoMaine, Great Falls Construction, and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
EXPLORATION: Students begin to identify areas of interest and explore how those interests could affect their future plans. In addition to classroom speakers and activities throughout the year, each grade level has a day designed to help students dive deeper into their interests and skills. Participating businesses and organizations include Sunday River, Ethos Marketing, Moody’s Collision Centers, and Cianbro Construction.
EXPERIENCE: Students plan for life after high school by identifying career fields that match their interests. Students have opportunities to participate in career-focused field experiences, job shadows, and extended workplace learning experiences (similar to internships), as well as college campus visits. The Career Speaker series brings in professionals from all walks of life to talk about their career paths with small groups of students who have expressed a genuine interest in the topic. Participating businesses and organizations include Coastal Women’s Health Care, Tyson Foods, News Center Maine, NorDX, University of Maine School of Law, and the American Red Cross.
CAREER EXPLORATION MOVES ONLINE!
Nearing the end of its second year, Aspire Gorham is rising to the challenge of continuing to offer engaging, informative career exploration opportunities to students in all grades.
“This initiative has never been about traditional classroom learning,” Aspire Gorham Project Manager Maureen O’Brien explained. “Since Day One, we have been trying innovative ways to get kids of all ages thinking about their futures. When the district transitioned to remote learning, it made perfect sense for us to move our programming online, too!”
The response from students has been enthusiastic. So far, forty high school students have participated in career conversations via Zoom, including a lively discussion with Broadway performer and 2007 Gorham High School graduate Andrew Wojtal. Wojtal talked about his journey from Gorham to New York City, where he eventually landed a role in “Hamilton”.
Students also talked with Tom Nelson, who graduated from GHS last year. Nelson shared his thoughts about making the transition from high school to St. Anselm College. “This was probably my favorite talk yet. It was super relatable because it was coming from someone within our age group, and I really like the casual, conversational style,” eleventh grader Grant Nadeau said.
At the elementary and middle school levels, students will have a chance to “Try It Online”. Modeled on this year’s successful 7th Grade Try It Day, students can opt to participate in virtual sessions built around hands-on activities. Topics include The ABCs of Sign Language, 10-Minute Songwriting, and Fitness Class Choreography, with more likely to be added before the end of the school year.
“We were able to offer a variety of opportunities this year, and students have given us lots of valuable feedback,” Career Coordinator Eliza Kenigsberg said. “We are thrilled to have a way to keep the momentum rolling!”
7th GRADE TRY IT DAY at GORHAM MIDDLE SCHOOL February 12, 2020
Try It Day gives 7th graders an opportunity to try their hands at different career-related activities. The day is designed for students, by students, with members of the Try It Day Planning Team involved in all phases of planning and marketing.
Among their contributions: original artwork for each session.
Improv actor Bob LeBlanc hosts the opening assembly, along with students Chafek Matta, Kailynn Herrick, Layla Gillihan, Lily Tukey, Bailey Hatch, Emily Fadrigon, and Winnie Duball.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY DAY at GORHAM MIDDLE SCHOOL
Every sixth grader had a chance to take part in What's Your Story Day on December 4. The purpose of the day was to have students gain a deeper understanding of who they are and how to tell their story while connecting with community members to explore how they relate to and work with others.
Students signed up for three activities. The sessions were led by professionals who told their career stories, with an emphasis on how the session focus (communication, collaboration or planning) applies in their job. Among the careers represented: FBI agent, TV news anchor, children’s librarian, direct sales and marketing professional, sales trainer, event planner, and finance director.
180 students participated and shared feedback.
💬 I had a lot of fun doing Cross the River and figuring out the path to the other side. It was my favorite activity because we got to cooperate to find the path across and memorize where to go.
💬 I am super happy that I had the Road to Success because I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up and she helped me figure out that law enforcement was really interesting.
💬 I had my creative juices flowing.
💬 It was overall super fun, and gave me some job ideas. And told me that it can be a long road to get your dream job!
FUTURE STORY DAY at GORHAM HIGH SCHOOL
October 23, 2019
ADOPT A CLASSROOM: High school students have a chance to give back to their community and gain some insight into the teaching profession by taking part in the Adopt A Classroom program. After being matched with an elementary school classroom, students visit throughout the school year, reading to the younger students, answering questions about the life of a high schooler, and discussing aspirations. Younger students are inspired by their teen visitors, developing bonds with the “big kids” that ease some of the anxiety of transitioning to middle and high school.
EVERYBODY HAS A STORY. WHAT’S YOURS? We encourage everyone in Gorham to be part of Aspire Gorham. No matter who you are, how old you are, where you go to school, or where you work, your story matters. As storytelling opportunities develop, we will be sure to let the community know!
To become involved in any of our existing programs, contact:
Aspire Gorham is a partnership between Gorham Schools, JMG, and the MELMAC Education Foundation. Our shared goal is to support students as they consider their futures – not just what they want to be, but what kind of life they want to live. Aspire Gorham is proud to collaborate with the Gorham Business-Schools Roundtable and the Gorham Business Exchange.