Students at Oromocto High School have been named the greatest explorers in the province, winning first place in New Brunswick and second place in Canada in the Chatterhigh national competition for career awareness.
Over 500 students at the school took part in the online educational experience that engages students, teachers, and even parents in labour market information and career planning. The students checked out 37,468 career profiles and post secondary education pathways in the first round called, Let's Talk Careers: Canada's Most Informed School, and they answered 37,558 questions, earning a flood of points.
Teacher Blair Simms said Chatterhigh works like career counselling as students explore online to find out what courses and knowledge they need to go into a trade, professional career or post secondary training. They discover what jobs exist now, what's possible in technology, robotics and the digital world, as well as what's happening in other careers and occupations.
"For those who don't know what they want to do with their life, it broadens their horizons and gives them ideas," Simms said.
Through the Chatterhigh platform, students do research and take a daily quiz that relates to various careers, earning points toward their school's total score. The questions are provided by industry associations, government and post-secondary institutions across Canada. The educational charity Let's Talk Science provided over 200 questions, each focused on a real, unique career profile of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related career.
"It's so important for students to be exposed to a variety of career options and post secondary opportunities while in high school so that they can make informed decisions on what they want their futures to look like," said Lee Taal, founder of Chatterhigh. "And by adding the element of competition, it can get the whole school onboard, and help students get more deeply engaged in active exploration."
Oromocto High School was one of 214 schools across the country that participated in the 40-day Chatterhigh competition. Schools with a similar number of students compete against each other and those with the most points win prizes. On February 11, Oromocto High School took home a $5,000 classroom interactive touch screen provided by ViewSonic and Compugen, one of Canada's largest IT service providers.
Round two of the contest starts on April 6 and runs through to May 13. Not only will there be technology prizes to be won for the highest ranking schools in that round, but the schools with the best combined scores over the two rounds of competition will win part of a $25,000 cash prize.
Gina Dunnett, director of schools for ASD-W's Oromocto Education Centre, told the students it was amazing for them to be first in the province and second in the country in round one, so keep going and win, she said.
"I also encourage you to take what you learn and use it for your future," Dunnett stated. "It won't be long and you'll be graduating."
Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, president and founder of Let's Talk Science, said it's critical for youth to remain curious, keep asking questions and explore diverse options for their futures. New careers emerge every day, she said, many of which need STEM skills. That's why Chatterhigh can be such a positive experience for the latest information on career resources and pathways.
Shown in the photo below are Oromocto High School students (left to right) Kaili Foster, Chloe Boutiller, Chase Albert, Serenity Johnson, Samantha Carr and Megan Mullin, during an assembly announcing the school's big win in the Chatterhigh competition.