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Sioux City paves a future for Siouxland students

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – School counselors across Siouxland are busy preparing students for the next step in their education.

For many students that could mean trade school, community college, or a 4-year college or university.

“A lot of kids get scared about going to college. It’s a different world,” said Aidan Vanderloo, a West High School senior.

“What I enjoy most about being a counselor is helping them transition on making that step from a high school classroom to being successful in a college classroom, and a college campus,” said Jeff Lucas, a Sioux City Career Academy School Counselor.

“He’s always there to answer questions that you have, so no question is a dumb question with him,” said Vanderloo.

For many students, preparing for college can seem overwhelming.

“Registering for classes, picking out colleges, doing all that paperwork,” said Vanderloo.

It’s a step many employers now require from their future workforce.

“With technology, with how careers are going right now, with pathways and career clusters, there’s a demand now for at least some form of education beyond their high school diploma,” said Lucas.

The Sioux City Career Academy offers courses to prepare students to take the ACT college admissions test.

“We try to look at it from three different things: what are their skills what are they good at, what is their interest, what would they like to do, and then what do they value what is important,” said Lucas. “We kind of blend those together and find out what is the right fit.”

The academy also offers options like trade and tech schools, and even the first step toward that first job.

“We even visit with students in regards to apprenticeships where they can go out get hired by a business or company right out of high school and get specific training from that company,” said Lucas.

“Some counselors are kinda just pushing kids through the door. He cares about the kids,” said Vanderloo.

Lucas believes success comes from making good connections with students to help them hold up under the stress of planning for their future.

“Every student needs an advocate if they are dealing with issues at home, peer issues, substance abuse issues, there’s somebody there that can help them work through any of those difficult times that they might be experiencing,” said Lucas.

While it might take a village to raise a child, it can take an entire school to bring up a young adult.

“It’s a team approach between counselors, teachers, and administrators to be the very best they can,” said Lucas.

“If kids know that they care, it makes a huge difference, and makes you more comfortable with moving on,” said Vanderloo.

Counselors say the ACT College Readiness Course is offered two semesters during the year.

The prep course that began in January ends in May.

Next fall, another ACT prep course starts in August and ends in January.

Danielle Saitta

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