The life of a realtor may involve a lot of footwork, paperwork and money-making potential, but not necessarily a college degree. It’s a tip real estate agent Joshua Campbell of Russell Realty passed on to Summit Academy School – Lorain students at a Lunch and Learn session last October. The monthly sessions bring together eight students and a professional in the community for lunch served by the school’s teachers. The pupils gather in the school conference room to learn about different careers from guest speakers working in fields of interest.

IEP Coordinator Christina Campbell introduced the program to the school after learning about similar programs at the Ohio Middle Level Association Annual Conference she attended in 2020.  Music Teacher Jacob Anderman, Science and Social Studies Teacher Joshua Ford, and Intervention Specialist Monica Ralph formed a committee with Campbell to organize the program.

Middle school and high school students interested in attending a Lunch and Learn session must first apply and receive signatures from two sponsors (the principal and a teacher or two teachers}. Students selected arrive ready with good manners, good questions and good listening skills thanks to lessons on proper etiquette they received at an earlier session led by Campbell.

“We went step by step on how to walk into the room, where to sit, to wait for food to be served, and how to clean up,” Campbell explains.

During the etiquette session students also learned about the importance of asking guest speakers thoughtful, insightful, open-ended questions, but not ones personal in nature. “We want to keep the focus on their careers,” Campbell emphasizes.

Other recent Lunch and Learn speakers were Rachael Gatt, R.N., BSN, a private duty nurse for MGA Homecare, and Fire Inspector Benjamin Webber with the Lorain Fire Department. In addition, school faculty members including Ralph and Ford spoke about their previous careers, respectively in trade show design and data migration. Students not only learn about various vocations, but the qualifications needed to practice them.

Earlier in the school year, students were asked to provide input on careers that interest them. In response to the students’ suggestions, sessions by a local fashion designer and café owner are waiting in the wings, Campbell says.