Gwen Canada, a teacher in the CTE Department, is the Leesville Road High School’s career development coordinator. She commonly answers student’s questions about college, careers, internships, job shadowing, and more. She attended ECU and has been working at Leesville for fifteen years. We sat down with her and had a quick Q & A:
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: I work with CTE teachers, and I work with career events that happen here at Leesville. I work with college events, colleges that come and visit here. Military recruiters, they come the fourth week, every branch comes, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and the military academies. I also do classroom assessments with every grade level.
Q: What made you want this job?
A: I have my masters in counseling, but I always loved the career part of it. I taught careers in middle school and then I decided I wanted to go back and get my masters in counseling because I really loved the careers part of it. I like it because when students need help planning what they want for their future, I get to be a part of that, and it’s great.
Q: Did your career turn out to be what you expected?
A:Yes, everything, it’s the best. The best job.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I think it’s when students decide what they’re going to do for their future and then come and tell me, that’s the most fun.
Q: What is your least favorite part of your job?
A: Well, maybe it’s the time we have to be here. That’s the only part I don’t like.
Q: What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
A: I think the most important part is just to be available to students, teachers, and parents, just to be here and to be a resource for them.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I have a daughter and I have a grandson; he’s eleven months old, and of course I’m married, and between my family and my mom and dad… anyway I just spend time with family. We travel a little bit, too.
Q: What has been the proudest moment of your career?
A: Well, I will tell you about this one student. I walked with this student all year long — she wanted to go to ECU. She didn’t do great on the SAT, and I told her “keep trying, keep trying”. One day, I was in here, and all of a sudden my doors flew open, and it was her. She was crying…I mean crazy crying. She was screaming, she was like “Mrs. Canada, I got into ECU!” I said, “Have you told your mom? And she says “No, I had to tell you first!” She was so excited because she had worked so hard to get into ECU, and ECU was where she really wanted to go. I’ve seen her since then, and she’s still there.
Q: Would you like to add anything else?
A: I would just like to say that I’m available for every student; they don’t have to make an appointment, just walk in. They can come see me any time before school, after school, during lunch. Just make sure that when they’re going through the process they take advantage of all the resources that are available. Whether it’s a field trip that I have, maybe it’s an internship that we are getting ready to get started with next year, any kind of events that I sponsor here in career services. And to utilize the career services website because there is lots of information about military recruiters the businesses that support our school. There’s information about jobs, the workers permit. There’s lots and lots of information on there that I get all of the time, and I just want to make sure that they find out about. Make sure to use sign up genius and utilize the resources that I’m flooded with.