“Leigh-ders” Speak to LHS Careers Class
By: Emily Loseke, a senior at Leigh High School
Every year, sophomores are required to take a semester-long Careers class. In this class students research different career clusters, take self-assessments, job shadow, write a reflection paper, and interact with guest speakers.
This year there were 8 Leigh alumnus who served as guest speakers and taught students about their careers and shared life advice.
Mrs. Megan Hillen, the Careers class teacher, said, “The Successful Leigh-der program provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to hear from Leigh graduates and learn about a variety of career clusters with first-hand information. I am grateful to all the speakers who have been willing to speak to our students over the past 5 years.”
The first guest speaker was Cameron Miller, a 2019 grad from the Government and Public Administration career cluster. Miller’s an Intelligence Analyst in the United States Navy, and he taught students about the different job opportunities within the military.
The second guest speaker was Matt McMullin, a 2015 Leigh grad and 5th Grade Teacher in Lincoln Public Schools. He represented the Education and Training career cluster.
Sophomore Dylan Brabec said, “Matt taught us that you need to find what you love to do because you’ll never be happy in life if you don’t like what you’re doing.”
McMullin said, “I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to come back to Leigh Community Schools. It was great to see everyone learning in the new school and all of the improvements that have been made. I think the career class is a fantastic opportunity for students to explore all of their options in an informative and engaging way. Letting students know what all of their options are, from people who are actually in that field, is a fantastic idea and a great resource. Great things are happening in Leigh!”
The third guest speaker was Drew Machmueller, a 2003 LHS grad from the Business Management and Administration career cluster. Machmueller’s a Facility Manager for Schwartz Farms, and he reminded students to be willing to work hard, have a positive attitude, and to always work on communication skills.
The fourth guest speaker was Grant Janousek, who graduated in 2004. Janousek is an Engineering Manager at John Deere Power Systems, and he represented the Energy and Engineering career cluster. He taught students the importance of working as a team, having good communication skills, being self-motivated, and taking STEM classes and participating in STEM activities.
The fifth guest speaker was Stacey (Korte) Cole who represented the Finance career cluster. A 2000 graduate of Leigh, she works in Agribusiness Banking at First National Bank of Omaha.
Sophomore Sydney Reeves said, “Finding what you’re interested in now helps you learn what you want your career to be. Job shadowing and internships are also helpful for when you go to college.”
Cole said, “I am proud to be a graduate of Leigh. I am from the Class of 2000; the class that went through Y2K; and we were the Home of the Panthers! Even though 20 years have passed and the mascot has changed, I will always call Leigh my home. In my current role as an Agribusiness relationship manager, I have the privilege of working with numerous individuals and families around the Midwest who remind me of the town where I grew up. In business, results matter; however, what I have learned in my career, is that not only results matter, but relationships matter. It’s about people; it’s about relationships!”
The sixth guest speaker was Gina (Luedtke) Ott who’s in Advertising Sales at IHeartMedia and is a yoga/fitness/barre instructor, and she represented the Marketing and Health Sciences career clusters.
Reeves said, “From Gina, we learned that you ever switch what you want to major in, that’s totally fine because it happens quite often. When working in sales, asking lots of questions is the most important thing.”
The seventh guest speaker was Lindsay (McCutcheon) Stubbe who represented Hospitality and Tourism, as she’s a Portfolio Revenue Manager at IHG.
Zoey VanDyke said, “Today, Lindsay Stubbe taught me a lot about working not only in hotel management but also working with hotel revenue. I learned that to get a managerial position in this field (like quite a lot of other fields) you need to have a fair amount of experience. I also learned about different major hotel corporations. There are a ton of different opportunities in just a single hotel.”
The final guest speaker was Kenlon Johannes, a 1967 Leigh grad who’s an Administrator and CEO of Kansas Soybean Commission and Association, and he represented the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources career cluster.
This was Johannes’ advice to students: “Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself. Listen instead of talk. Try new things. Learn about money and finances. Pay attention to the little things in life because they might become big things. Be honest and humble.”
Johannes said, “It was fun, and I was honored to go back home to Leigh High School to address the career class. Thank you to Megan Hillen for setting it up. The class was attentive and inquisitive, and I would encourage anyone else who is asked to participate in the program to do so. This program is a great idea. There are so many successful graduates of Leigh High School. We all grew up and benefited from the education we received at LHS and the support we had from the community to get a good education at LHS. It was nice to give something back to LHS.”
The students of LHS wish to thank all the participants in this year’s “Successful Leigh-ders” Project!