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CAPStivating Opportunities

The CAPS program offers students new options regarding the work field

Chelsea Park and Natalie Lindmark

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For most high school students around the country, college is the first taste they get of coursework regarding their future professions. However, for students in the Blue Valley School district and other select nearby schools, CAPS, the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, can be a jump-start into what their future life could look like.

CAPS is a learning center for high school juniors and seniors looking to further prepare themselves for college or a career. CAPS offers over six different course programs with different strands, such as medicine, business, and engineering.

Senior Faith Marble has recently finished a semester at CAPS in teacher education. Through a combination of her own desire to seek out new things and advice from a friend who formerly participated in CAPS, she decided to try it out.

“I wasn’t positive if I wanted to be a teacher, but I think it was a great outlet for me,” Marble said. “I wanted to try out different things [to see] if I want to be an occupational therapist or a special education teacher, so I got a shot of both [though CAPS].”

While some students take CAPS their first semester, others decide to start it their second semester. Senior Megan Mayer just started the program in January and has experienced it for few weeks.

“I’m in EHP (exploring health professions), so [we] spent the first few weeks getting CPR certified, touring hospitals, learning HIPAA, [and] etc,” Mayer said.

Carson Ferren, a senior at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., participated in CAPS her senior year at BV Southwest four years back. However, she still remembers participating in the teacher education program at CAPS.

“Ever since a young age, I wanted to be a teacher. However, during my high school years I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do with my life,” said Ferren. “This program gave me the opportunity to explore my options and see if teaching was truly for me…and guess what, it is.”

CAPS allows its students to experience new opportunities and try out skills for the real world.

“I liked the opportunity of shadowing teachers and creating my portfolio,” Marble said. “It was a lot of work, but ultimately, it was worth it and it’s a great resource to have. We got to collaborate with a ton of people from the outside world. I worked with Chase KC to make a peer mentoring program for high functioning individuals with autism.”

As a new CAPS student, Mayer is looking forward to what the EHP program at CAPS has in store for her this semester.

“For the rest of the semester, we [will] rotate through different job shadows! I’m going to the Overland Park regional medical center first to shadow in the emergency room” Mayer said.

Ferren has expressed utmost gratitude towards CAPS as she gained knowledge of professional expertise.

“CAPS teaches you a variety of skills high school students normally don’t get,” Ferren said.  “You learn how to write, edit and add to a resume. You learn interview skills. You learn the importance of professional dress. You learn how to network. You gain college credit, though most programs.”

CAPS does take up three blocks of the schedule, so it may be difficult for some students to work into their schedule, However, Marble found a way to fit CAPS into her schedule and she encourages others to consider taking CAPS if they are interested.

“I definitely would [recommend CAPS for other high school students],” Marble said. “It’s a really good opportunity that allows students to try different outlets to see what they want to do with their life before they go to college instead of having to blindly major in different subjects”

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