The 2002-2003 school year was a year of firsts for Bernice MacNaughton High School. Not only was it the school’s first graduating class since becoming a comprehensive high school, it was also the first time that the Cooperative Education course was offered.
Fast forward 13 years, and there I was in the latest group of grade 12s preparing to be sent out to our placements. All of us were hoping that this experience will be reassuring and enriching, which was the case for the most part.
The “Co-op Ed” course was created to give graduating students an opportunity to get some insight about the career they’re planning to pursue, and to see if it was worthwhile.
Soon-to-be retired co-op teacher, Ms. Nancy Tingley, says that no matter if the student likes their placement or not, “either way it’s a win-win.”
“If the student loves it, then it’s worth the money. If the student doesn’t like it, then the student has saved thousands of dollars by not studying that career at college or university,” said Tingley.
The program has given thousands of students from MacNaughton alone experience in their career of choice. For example, co-op student Kelsey Betts went to the Moncton Hospital to be a laboratory technician. She insists that, “The hands on experience I got from working as a lab tech helped immensely.” She also recommends this course to, “anyone, especially if they have an idea of what they want to do as a career. If they don’t, I still recommend because of the experience in the workplace.”
The knowledge that students gain from their placements is better than what could be learned through classroom theory.
“I think that of all the courses you can take to prepare you for your future, Co-op is the best,” says Tingley. She points out that there isn’t anywhere else that you could get the experience in occupations, such as a doctor, a journalist, a carpenter or a daycare worker.