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Elementary Students Gain Real-World Work Experience

Round 3 Finalists


Elementary students in the Tuscaloosa City Schools are preparing for their future careers today as part of a job shadowing event held at the system’s main office. Twenty-four students from six local elementary schools participated in the event which serves as Round Three of the Great Handshake Challenge, a competition between fifth grade students to showcase their ability to greet people, and use social skills and manners correctly. In the final round of competition, two dozen students participated in a short professional internship to test their soft skills in the workplace. 

Student Thomas Terrell Hood wants to one day work in construction. He spent the day shadowing TCS Executive Director of Facilities Ed Smith.

While visiting the main office, students also got to participate in photography, typing, accounting, research and media interviews. See a gallery of their work as photographed by students London Jefferson and Garrett Ingram. The duo learned about subject matter, composition and the Rule of Thirds.

The Great Handshake Challenge event highlights the six key competencies each student must have to be successful as defined by the TCS Graduate Profile:

  • Communicator
  • Global citizen
  • Innovator
  • Leader
  • Work Ready
  • Technologically Advanced

“This competition helps us with the TCS Graduate and become all of it and lead you to success,” said London Jefferson, a Skyland student, who along with Garrett Ingram of Rock Quarry Elementary helped prepare this press release.  Both Jefferson and Ingram shadowed in the TCS public relations office. Job Shadowing

Student Thomas Terrell Hood wants to one day work in construction. He spent the day shadowing TCS Executive Director of Facilities Ed Smith (right). 

Each school was represented by four participants: Central: Kaliya Benjamin: Jomarriah Spates, Chazton Thompson and Tavaris Ryan; Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary: Jatavia Witherspoon, K'Liyah Fritz, Travis Billingsley and Jakiara Brown; Skyland: Thomas Terrell Hood, Charzett Dixon, Mar'Bria Fisher, and London Jefferson; Tuscaloosa Magnet: Ella Frantom, Ben Evans, Parker Averette,and Amancio Giles; Rock Quarry students: Andrew Matthews, Nathan Lee, Robbie Morrison and Garrett Ingram; and Verner: Ella Strickland, Elijah Prestley, Nick Diaz-Drake and Thomas Patton.

One winner from each school will advance to the national competition in Atlanta, Ga. next month at the Ron Clark Academy. TCS administrators estimate the price tag of the competition will be nearly $10,000 for the system winners to participate. Click to support their efforts to defray costs of participating in the national competition.