A group of local students is getting on-the-job experience to help them make an informed decision about career goals.

Leigh Smith, the K-12 ESE specialist at the Franklin County School, is taking her students for a ride. During the months of February and March, a group of 14 students is visiting local businesses to find out what is actually involved in working there.

Smith said she was thrilled last week to see two of her pupils operating the x-ray machine at the Apalachicola Bay Animal Clinic for a real practical feel of what a veterinarian or vet tech does on a day to day basis.

Sabrina McQueen of Eastpoint was back for a second visit to the clinic on Thursday, Feb. 23 and said she is seriously considering a career as a veterinarian. Tiara Mathis of Apalachicola who also visited the clinic on Feb. 23 said she has considered nursing as a career but visiting the clinic opened her eyes to veterinary science as a possible course of study.

The program taking students into the workplace is called Seahawk Success Work Experience.

“This program was initiated to help improve our graduation rate," Smith said. "Our goal is to give students the opportunity for hands on experience in our community by job shadowing at local businesses. Our students discover the many opportunities for employment right here at home and hear from local business men and women about what it takes to be successful. We are showing them businesses that somebody will have to take over in the future.”

At Wefings Marine Supply and Service, Ron Copeland and Marc Grove explained that there is a wide range of jobs within their operation ranging from sales to mechanics to accounting. "We are showing them the bones of the business,” said Copeland.

Participating in Seahawk Success are McQueen, Mathis, Krista Kelley, Allison Hunnings, Micah McLeod, Rufus Townsend, Joseph Square, Bruce Keith, Jackson Mahon, Jimmy Square, Taylor Kilgore, Tyler Howard, India Sewell, Mikel Register, Skyler Newell and Alyssia Shirah.

“The students are deciding on what route to take after high school and thinking beyond the walls of FCS to develop a plan for their future after graduation,” said Smith.

The participating businesses are The Clipper Shoppe, Wefings Marine, Carrabelle Gulfside IGA, Gulf Coast Auto Parts and Service, Big Top Grocery, and Apalachicola Bay Animal Clinic.