A number of high school students across the county will be out of the classroom March 6. But they won’t be playing hooky.
They’ll be part of the annual Rotary Shadow Day, which gives high school juniors an opportunity to visit and shadow a local business or agency of their choice for half a day.
The idea is to connect the students with a profession which might be of interest to them as future career paths, according to retired educator Bob Crawford, who spearheads the event.
Rotary works with Wallowa County Education Service District and Supt. Karen Patton, and each high school student is given a survey listing most of the entities in Wallowa County.
The student selects three professions to shadow. “Karen and I then try to match them up with a willing host,” Crawford said. “Generally the students get placed with their first choice.
An early March date is generally selected. It has also been held in November.
“Once a date is set we solicit Rotarians to pick up students, take them to their respective hosts and return them to school,” Crawford said. Businesses and agencies are contacted to make sure they are willing to host. Crawford said no one asked turned down the opportunity this year.
“I have been involved with the program for about 18 years, and with the exception of a couple of years when it did not operate, it runs about the same as when I got involved,” Crawford added. “The main exception is that Karen Patton has brought it into the computer age, which has simplified the whole process immeasurably.
Small glitches like students choosing not to go after a host has been established and drivers forgetting to show up to drive or calling up at the last minute to say something has come up and they can’t drive are the only snags.
A couple of times a host has called at the last minute to say they can’t follow through.
The program is part of a long list of activities Rotary coordinates in support of education, including annual scholarships for seniors.