The TRAILS young adult program through Gardner Edgerton High School was recognized at the May USD 231 Board of Education meeting for its second place program win at the Job Olympics at Johnson County Community College.
Kristin Sechler said it was her first year as an instructor for the program.
“And all of a sudden it is Job Olympics time, and oh my gosh what do I do and are we prepared,” she said.
Job Olympics was developed to promote transition and employable skills from a broad spectrum of high school students and beyond with special education.
Sechler said 500 students from 40 area schools competed in the competitions.
“Controlled chaos was kind of the environment that day,” she said. “It was very interesting.”
“They had to compete in actual job and employment situations,” she said.
Sechler said competitions represent actual job employment situations and they are judged by business people from the community and professionals in education.
One of the important competition factors were the young adults initial and final recognition of the judges with faces, eye contact and words, she said. They had to introduce themselves, state the judge’s name or asking how to pronounce their name. The end of the competition they had to repeat their name, shake the judge’s hand and say thank you.
The top schools are recognized at the award ceremony with medals, ribbons and trophies. The Gardner Edgerton High School Trails program took home 14 medals with seven first- place medals, three second-place medals, four third place and various ribbons.
“Cambrea swept all three events with two first place medals and a third place medal,” Sechler said. “Rachel, Janee, Clarence, Ryan and Nicole each received two medals. And additionally students received ribbons for their placing in the top ten positions.”
Sechler said as a program they brought home their first trophy since 2019.
“Our young adults did an amazing job,” she said. “I was so proud of them. Each one of them worked so hard.”
Sechler said they started training in March and focused on handshakes, introducing themselves, stating the judges name and stating their names “loud and proud.”
“I think that contributed to their comfort because they all knew that expectation and all did fabulous with that activity,” she said. “I am very proud of our young adults and I think they did an amazing job each one of them.”