Guest speakers provide real world connections to Cloudland business classes

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

“When will I ever use this?” This is a refrain heard often by teachers from their students. In an attempt to get her students to see the answer to this question, Mrs. Holly Houston’s business classes recently hosted two guest speakers, Lucas Hitchew and Mrs. Sue DeYoung. Each speaker spoke with a different class in an effort to show how the skills they were studying would be useful to them once they graduate.

Lucas Hitchew is a Niswonger CARE advisor (college and career advising initiative) who spoke to the Business Management class about the importance of interview skills. The entire class was preparing for an interview competition to be held at Northeast State Community College. Hitchew discussed various interview techniques with the students and offered advice on how to best answer common interview questions. He also talked to the students about the importance of dressing for success and strategies about how to deal with the nervousness that often accompanies the stress of job interviews. As Hitchew pointed out, “interviews are an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the job and for the potential employer to get to know you.” Hitchew helped the students realize the importance of being prepared, professional, and honest throughout the interview process.

Mrs. Sue DeYoung spoke with the Computer Applications class. Mrs. DeYoung is an accountant and works regularly with Microsoft Excel. The introductory computer class has recently been studying Excel Spreadsheets. Mrs. Houston wanted her students to see how Excel is utilized in real world scenarios. She shared with the class how she employs Excel to help her with book-keeping calculations for her family campground business, Mountain View RV Park, located at the end of Heaton Creek Road in Roan Mountain. She encouraged the students to predict formulas totaling income and expenses for the campground as well as a cost and profit analysis of the business. Mrs. DeYoung also works as an accountant for Fillauer Prosthetics, based in Chattanooga. She provided examples of how she implements spreadsheets in her work with that company as well. The students were encouraged to think about how they could utilize Excel spreadsheets to work with budgets, calculate loan payments, and much more.

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“I appreciate these guest speakers so much,” said teacher Holly Houston.  “They helped us show the students how the business skills that they are acquiring in school will help them throughout their lives. Students often wonder if what they are learning in school is something that they will actually utilize. As adults, we know that they will indeed use many of the skills that are covered in the curriculum. However, it is important that we try to get the students to understand this. I am very grateful to our guest speakers who helped us make this connection.”