Strengths and Career Day at Grove City College

If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!”  This quote by Saint Catherine of Sienna captures the heart of what Butler Catholic School desires most for its students, to be exactly who God created them to be in order to serve others. To help students recognize and take time to reflect on their God-given abilities, a unique day was created specifically for BCS 7th and 8th grade students, BCS Strengths and Career Day.

The Strengths and Career Day held Monday, October 21st at Grove City College, was a new and special opportunity specifically designed for BCS 7th and 8th grade students by Mandy Sposato, Director of Career Services at Grove City College, and Dr. Jennifer Mobley, Assistant Dean for Service Learning at Grove City College.

In preparation for the Career Day, BCS students completed the CliftonStrengths Assessment in advance at school. The online assessment measures one’s natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and categorizes them into the 34 CliftonStrengths themes.

Once on the Grove City College campus, BCS students met first with Dr. Mobley to gain deeper insight into their strengths assessment report, which revealed their Top Five CliftonStrengths. As a Gallup-certified coach, Dr. Mobley asked students to view their Top Five talents as a unique fingerprint. “When you take your top five theme results in order, it represents how you are uniquely talented, just like your fingerprint is unique to you. The chance another person has the same group of strengths in your Top Five order is roughly one in 300,000. Your unique set of strengths sets you apart from everyone else.”

Dr. Mobley then encouraged students to strengthen what they naturally do best and do more of it. “Take your talents and move them toward strengths by using them in your daily life at school, at church, and in your community.” To help students gain better insight into the patterns and themes revealed in their assessment report, Director of Career Services, Ms. Sposato gave students three actions steps to complete. First, she asked students to take time for personal reflection, and then she suggested that students engage in many different experiences. Finally, Ms. Sposato encouraged students take time to develop their interests. “Try to get involved in as many activities and experiences as possible because those experiences will lead to developing your interests. It is those interests that may lead to discovering what you are truly passionate about, and that is why you are here today. We want to help you get on a path that will ultimately lead you to your God-given calling and passion.”

Ms. Sposato also shared with students how to conduct an informational interview, as well as provided additional online self-assessment, college major, and career exploration tools. “We want you to someday find a career that bridges your interests, strengths and passions. We want you to find a job where you can thrive. It is the point of connection where your talents and passion meet where you will most impact the world,” stated Sposato.

Once the Strengths and Career Seminar was completed, BCS students each received a GCC t-shirt of their choosing at the college bookstore, and toured the beautiful campus. While on the tour, the middle school students asked lots of questions about what college life is like. “What is a typical college schedule, and how many hours a day are college students in class?” were a few of the questions 7th grader William Boosel posed. William went on to say how much the day positively impacted him, “Visiting Grove City College and attending the strengths seminar really made me think about how important education and career choices are.”

That same gratitude about the college visit, and appreciation for the new found understanding of her strengths and talents was also reiterated by eighth grader Maddie Gilkey. “I really enjoyed my visit to Grove City College, and learning about my strengths. I feel like I am able to make better decisions about future career opportunities now, and really liked to see what college life is like” said Gilkey. Michaela Peratt, another BCS 8th grader, agreed. “After visiting Grove City College, I was like wow! I have a new perspective about how to prepare for college, and a new confidence about what I want to do when I grow up. It really was a confirmation for me to pursue my interests. And it’s not about making money, it’s about serving others.”

Mrs. Carol Dorcy, BCS 8th grade teacher, was also thankful for the opportunity her students had to participate in Strengths and Career Day. “It was exciting to see our middle school students have access to the same assessment and career tools typically available to only college-age students. Those tools will be helpful as 8th graders complete their Eighth Grade Graduate Studies project.”  To graduate, all BCS 8th graders are required to research a specific career that interests them, and conduct their own informational interviews during a job shadowing day. Eighth graders then present their research, and share their job shadowing day highlights, with their peers and parents.

How do we set the world on fire as St. Catherine of Sienna proclaims? We simply be who God wants us to be. But discovering oneself takes time and discernment. It is our hope at Butler Catholic School that this special day helped our 7th and 8th grade students identify what they are naturally interested in and do best, in order for them to develop their talents and strengths to live the calling has God for them.