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    Senior Send-Off is a unique one-day mini conference designed to offer practical application through workshops that allow all Wichita Falls ISD seniors to see what it takes to prepare for independent living.  Its purpose is to jumpstart self-sufficiency, reliance, and determination for life after high school.  Workshop clusters include managing money, interviewing, independent living, and post-secondary education.  Seniors attend sessions including but not limited to “Marketing You,” “College Life – What Can I Expect,” and “Life After High School”

     

    Senior Send-Off will celebrate its eleventh year on March 29, 2017.  Coordinated by Partners In Education, this program is sponsored by United Supermarkets, American National Bank, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Papa John's Pizza, Durham School Services, and the Wichita Falls ISD.
     
     
    2017 Senior Send-Off Evaluations
     
     
     
     
     
     Senior Send-Off 2016
     
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    If WFISD seniors thought they were experts on how technology will transform their futures, they found out differently in a Senior Send-Off workshop titled, “Gizmos & Gadgets.”



    The one-hour seminar was one of 13 workshop topics offered at the 2016 Senior Send-Off, held March 23 at the Multi-Purpose Events Center. The event drew 671 WFISD seniors.


    Senior Send-Off, now in its 10th year, is an annual mini-conference that exposes WFISD seniors to issues they will face after graduation. They get tips from local business professionals on practical life skills, such as how to manage their money, cook for themselves, and interview for a job.


    “It allows our seniors to get additional information they will need for what lies ahead,” said Send-Off Coordinator January Jones. “It may be information they’ve heard from family members, but it always sounds different when it comes from someone else.”

     
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    Send-off presenters are local business men and women. They bring an up-to-the-minute relevance to their presentations, said Ms. Jones. They also might employ WFISD graduates who go into the workforce directly after graduation. “It gives them that first interaction with a potential boss,” she said.


    The popular “Gizmos & Gadgets” workshop, taught by WFISD technology specialist Joe Comacho, alerted seniors to how quickly their world is changing and warned them to be ready to adapt or be left behind.

    Mr. Comacho introduced students to a variety of cutting-edge technologies, including:

     
    • Magic Leap creates a virtual field trip that can be unfurled like ghostly 3D images in a large space, such as in a school gymnasium.

    • Aurasma, a free app, illustrates the future of textbooks. Aim a smart phone at its pictures, and they come to life as videos.

    • Leap Motion allows computers to be controlled with hand movements.

    • The Lilly Drone can be digitally tethered to your cell phone, operating without a remote. This little contraption will follow you like an airborne drone and film you as you ski down a ski slope or ride the rapids in a canoe.


     

    “There’s a lot of new technology coming out,” said Rider senior Sioverio Maffia after the workshop. “I can’t even keep up with it.” 
     
     
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    Such technology advances made it difficult for seniors to stay quiet during the seminar as they oohed and ahhed at the technology that is already at their doorstep.

     
    “I feel excited and scared a little bit, too. I feel I have to focus on the future, but try to stay in the present, or I won’t have a good ‘now,’” said Maffia, who is planning a nursing career. 


    Eat safely


    Scot Plowman, owner of Parkway Grill and Pelicans restaurants, fed the seniors while he taught them about food safety and grocery shopping.

    His seminar, titled Scotty P’s Kitchen, is a perennial favorite. This year, he served students heaping BBQ beef sandwiches, mashed potatoes sprinkled with bacon and cheese, cheesecake and eclairs.


    Students munched while Mr. Plowman suggested they turn to Food Network for help in learning to cook and consult the Internet for good recipes.


    He reminded students that deciding to become a cook might lead them to a job on a cruise ship where they could see the world or an opportunity to work in a prestigious hotel and meet all sorts of interesting people.


    Since they will spend the rest of their lifetimes cooking for themselves, he reminded them of safeguards to take while cooking. He urged them to take special precaution with hamburger meat (cook it thoroughly) and chicken (keep it cold). 


    “You’ll be on your own,” he told the seniors.


    His parting advice: Don’t take a job at a place where you don’t want to be (because they won’t want you there either if your attitude isn’t good), and be good at whatever you do.


    “It’s fun to let them eat,” said Mr. Plowman of his generosity with students every year at this event. “Someday they may be customers.”

     


     
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    Hiring a Millennial

    Jim Cadotte of All American Car Wash talked seniors through the six living distinct generations and how each one’s unique characteristics play out in the work world.


    The seniors belong to a generation that is interconnected through social media, champions companies that give back to the less fortunate, feels entitled to the best the world has to offer (no $35 jeans for them) and works well in groups.


    He would never ask a Millennial to head up a project by himself, he said. Instead, he would group a few Millennial employees in a team and direct them to tackle the project together.


    He urged them to work hard at their careers despite their parents’ penchant for praising them no matter how well or poorly they did on projects growing up.


    "No one is going to give you anything in the workplace,” he said. “You will fail. Get past that. Demand that employers don’t coddle you.”

     
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    Harrell senior Ashley Adams said Mr. Cadotte’s presentation shined some light on her generation. “I learned about me,” she said.


    Mr. Cadotte was correct about the older generation her parents belonged to, said Rider senior Alexandria Calabrisi.  “They were strict,” she said.



    Senior Send-Off app

     
    For the first time this year, Senior Send-Off operated with its own app and a QR code that made it easy for students to find it. Students used the app to fill out a final evaluation of the event. 


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    A special thank you to our guest speaker Tiffany Humpert.


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    Thank you to our 2016 Sponsors:
     
          United             AMNAT   Papa Johns      Coca Cola          Durham       WFISD