Leander ISD students take on COOL Week

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Career Opportunities on Location, or COOL Week, is offered to LISD seniors. The mission of the program is to give students an opportunity to test out possible career paths before graduation.

COOL Week Coordinator Pat Lopez said she has seen the positive effects the program can have on students.

College is an expensive place to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, Lopez said. With COOL Week the students are able to try on a career before they go off to college and spend money on a degree.

Each year Lopez works with the college and career counselors at all five LISD high schools to set up work placements for as many students as possible. This year 354 LISD students accepted placements at 150 companies in the Austin area, she said.

Vista Ridge senior Arnoldo Mercado was placed at National Oilwell Varco in Cedar Park to learn more about mechanical engineering.

I can see what real life is going to be in six years, and thats exciting, Mercado said. The best part of my internship was getting to see a 3-D printer and watch it in action.

Behind every COOL Week internship is a company willing to accept one or more high school students into its facility and educate them about the industry. Sandra Hudson, owner of Canine & Feline Rehabilitation & Conditioning Center, hosted two COOL Week students this year.

I think you never know what will inspire someone, Hudson said. Maybe after this experience the students will still go to veterinary school or maybe find out they are completely uninterested in this field. But even learning something isnt for you is still valuable. I wish I could have had an opportunity as straight-forward as this to participate in when I was in high school.

Editors Note: This story was produced by Leander ISD students as part of a COOL Week internship at Community Impact Newspaper.

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