VARDEN - Students from four area school districts ventured to Western Wayne High School to take part in Mock Interview Day.

It has been taking place for 15 years.

Students from Western Wayne, Honesdale, Wallenpaupack and Forest City High Schools took part. There were around 30 students from each school and they had three different interviews apiece.

They were students in grades 10-12. Students of all abilities have the chance to participate in Mock Interview Day, whether they are special education or National Honor Society students.

After an interview was conducted, the students received feedback from the interviewers.

People from area businesses took time out of their day to take part. They evaluated each student on a ratings sheet through a point system.

Topics for evaluation included dressing professionally, knowledge about the position and effectiveness of resume.

Preparing students

“It's good practice for them,” said Mary Fritz, a member of the Wayne County School to Work Committee, which hosted Mock Interview Day. “It's good experience and is a nice preparation.”

She added it's a local commitment for businesspeople to take the time in helping students improve their skills.

Each school, starting with Western Wayne, was given about an hour for the interviews. Then it was time for the next school.

Companies that took part in Mock Interview Day included Friendship House, Barna Law, Home Depot, NBT [formerly Pennstar] Bank, CareerLink, Waste Management, Pike County Workforce Development, Cove Haven, Bold Gold Media Group, Honesdale National Bank, Woodloch, Wayne Bank,, Wayne County Commissioners, The Dime Bank, Fox 5, Luzerne County Community College, Educational Opportunity Center, AM Skier Insurance, Wayne Memorial Hospital, Fox Ledge Spring Water, Maines Paper & Food, Inc., Wayne Highlands School District, Wayne County Employment & Training, Northampton Community College, Western Wayne School District and Top Notch.

Wayne Libraries was also involved in Mock Interview Day. NBT sponsored breakfast, lunch and some snacks for the students and Fox Ledge donated water.

Community effort

“The School to Work Committee is made up of volunteers from the Wayne County Chamber [of Commerce], businesses and agencies,” said Deborah Kussoff, chairman of the committee. “They are all from Wayne County. We work on a zero budget.”

She added the committee asks people to do the interviews to help prepare students for the workforce.

“It really benefits the students,” Kussoff stated. “It's nice that the community volunteers to meet the students and see their abilities and what they can do.

“They get to see the students in a one on one basis and the students get great feedback.”

Kussoff stated students have gotten jobs from Mock Interview Day before.

Exceeding expectations

Western Wayne High School Principal Matt Barrett was impressed with how the students in his district were doing.

“They presented themselves very well,” he said. “They've done a great job.”

He said the students exceeded his expectations with their professionalism, volunteer experience and work experience.

“The students are very well-rounded,” Barrett added. “It speaks volumes for the future. I'm very thankful this program exists for all of the students.”

Class experience

After students from Western Wayne completed their interviews, it was time for Forest City.

Students from two classes at Forest City Regional High School took part in Mock Interview Day. They were juniors from Speech Communications and seniors from Advanced Speech Communications, taught by Terri Erdmann, who has over 20 years of experience teaching those classes.

“This program helps the students tremendously,” she said. “Interviews are one of the most stressful things they'll do. I always tell my students the resume gets the interview and the interview gets the job.”

She added the classes give her students confidence and tools they need.

“The number one fear is public speaking,” Erdmann stated. “Once they take my class, they realize it's not so bad.”

She said students aren't given the tools they tools they need and stated her classes gives them experience with different kinds of speeches.

“They aren't always going to be giving speeches, but they'll be communicating,” Erdmann said. “This is tremendous practice in such a competitive world.”

About Wayne County School to Work

The mission of the committee is to aid and assist the school districts of Wayne County in their efforts to meet Pennsylvania standards for career education and work.

The committee works to alert and inform the surrounding communities of the programs available through the educational process of implementing these standards in an effort to develop work-ready individuals that are prepared to meet the employment challenges of the 21st Century.