A career mentorship program for a Lakeville North High School class is continuing throughout distance learning. Instead of meeting their mentors in person, the students are practicing their pen pal skills by staying connected with their mentors through email

This was the first year of the mentorship program in Molly Thorson (math) and Brad Pike’s (tech. ed.) Geometry of Design and Engineering class. The two-hour block class for freshmen and sophomores is co-taught and helps students understand the “why” of geometry and how it is used in real world careers. In the past students have used what they learned to build mini golf courses, balsa wood bridges, balloon-powered cars and more. 

Thorson and Pike worked with Cindy Nolan, the district’s Career Pathways Coordinator, to create a mentorship within their class to give students access to career professionals, build career skills, and tie geometry together with real jobs. With the help of the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce, mentors from seven career fields stepped up to work with the students

The class was able to have three of their five planned meetings with these mentors before distance learning began.

To overcome the challenge and still be able to connect with their mentors, the class had an email etiquette lesson. Students researched how to write a professional email, which was a first for many of them. Using what they learned, the students wrote a practice email to Thorson and Pike and received feedback. They then emailed their mentors and asked questions about how professional emails look in their respective fields.

“It helps so much to talk to someone who is actually working a job in a field that you are interested in. It is super informative to hear the path that they took to get to where they are and what they would recommend when it comes to schooling and job applications,” said student, Macie LaMere, as she reflected on the mentorship so far.

“I feel like I have gained some valuable stuff, like the email advice is very good. I would also say the questions we asked are good such as, ‘what do you do in a normal day?’ That gives us an idea of how much work a job will have,” said student, Sam Purdy. 

“The students were very prepared during each session, including the distance learning session that I was a part of,” said Nick Thorson from Thorson Homes, who was impressed with the students.