Webster Groves High School Students Tour Campus Renewal Site
Kathy Bretsch
/ Categories: Campus Renewal Refresh
Feb 2024

Webster Groves High School Students Tour Campus Renewal Site

February 2024 - Daland Jefferson, a junior at Webster Groves High School, likes figuring out how to do things. That’s why he recently joined some of his classmates at the BJC Campus Renewal Career Resource Center to learn more about careers in construction and the trades.

With encouragement from a family member who is a master electrician, Jefferson dreams of becoming a master electrician himself. “I like working with my hands,” says Jefferson. “I know I'm willing to put in the time, and starting at a young age will make the goals easier to complete.”

Jenny Willenborg, a teacher in the Chelsea Detrick Experiential Learning Center at Webster Groves High School, visited BJC’s Career Resource Center open house in 2023. She works with community partners such as BJC to introduce students to authentic experiences with professionals.

“We help students explore their career interests and passions through community-based experiences including field trips, job shadowing, internships and service learning,” says Willenborg. 

The field trip began at the Career Resource Center, located at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where students learned about the variety of opportunities in construction. A representative with the local operator’s union talked with the students about the different types of heavy machinery, including tower cranes, on which operators are trained during an apprenticeship. He emphasized that the construction trades require both brain power and perseverance, and that apprentices are paid while they learn.

During a tour of the construction site, Jefferson’s enthusiasm was apparent as he asked meaningful questions that both enlightened him and confirmed his decision to pursue his chosen career goals. He also learned about the importance of teamwork on a construction project.

Jefferson says, “I like the way they highlighted every type of trade. I learned that most of the trades work together to make everyone’s jobs easier. I thought every trade worked separately, but now I know it's all about teamwork.”

Charles Henson, senior manager of diversity for BJC Planning, Design & Construction, says, “These students are our future, and we owe them the time and encouragement needed to fulfill their hopes and dreams about career choices. What’s exciting is how students respect the opportunity and appreciate the attention given to them.”

Willenborg was impressed with the field trip. “The students had the opportunity to talk to seasoned professionals in the construction field and hear advice and suggestions for how best to move forward in pursuit of a career in construction,” she says. “Every professional we met was approachable, honest and welcoming to the students. Having the opportunity to be on a construction site and see the tradesmen and women at work helped students envision what the day-to-day life in this career path would entail.”

Although Jefferson has more than a year remaining in high school, he understands what he needs to do his during his remaining time in high school to set him on his path to master electrician, impressive for a 16 year old. “I need to make sure my grades are good so I can have more options in life. I’m just eager to learn and to make myself a better man,” he adds. 

Learn more here

Educators who want to schedule a field trip or who want to learn more can contact Jennifer Irvin at [email protected]


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