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Local professionals IMPACT students' lives

fifth grade group from Colerain with fire truck in background


The IMPACT Program:


The IMPACT PROGRAM is “Impartation into pre-middle school students, to develop critical thinking skills, awareness and tools to use lifelong.” It is the brainchild of School Counselor and author Sylvia Walton.


IMPACT is a monthly program for fifth graders to help them prepare for middle school life and to learn about careers, career clusters and to explore their own professional interests as they embark upon the middle grades.


The initial exposure the students gained was through Mrs. Stephanie Cottle, who is the Career and Technical Education “guru” / CTE Coordinator for the high schools. She explained in detail  the many offerings of CTE courses and pathways that students may choose when they enter middle school and high school.


Dr. Lakeisha Walker, of Bridge of Hope Transformational Services, LLC, did a session all about self-esteem and self-image for the fifth graders. And Walton works with the fifth graders on ways to prepare for middle school and adjustments that will need to be made during that transition.


Remaining IMPACT sessions focus on students being introduced to local professionals, whose experience can help inspire and shape future career paths for some of our students at an early age.


The IMPACT presenters for the month of February at Colerain and Aulander Elementary schools were:  Marty Barnes and his son, Kyle. Marty works for an ambulance service and serves as a volunteer firefighter. Kyle is a farmer and also volunteers as a firefighter.


Each month, students at the two schools, where Walton serves, are visited by local professionals who can share their expertise and experiences in job fields that are right here in Bertie County. The career leaders share information about the education and training required for their work, and why they chose their particular career pathway.


Prior to each visit, fifth graders at these schools are required to prepare questions for the presenters. And following each presentation, students develop their English and language arts skills as they write paragraphs and/or essays about their takeaways.


The IMPACT program is not only aimed at helping students to make decisions and to meet entrepreneurs in local business, but it helps students to work on making healthy life choices and to learn about how their decisions—even now—impact academics, behavior and life. Students also discuss the ways middle school life will be different from the elementary experience. And a focus is placed on helping students adjust during that critical 6th grade year.