American School of The Hague recently revamped its daily schedule and unveiled an exciting initiative known as CareerQuest for high school students. The experience aimed to provide students with a unique opportunity to contemplate their future, explore academic pathways, and discover the multitude of opportunities available to them.
During CareerQuest, high school students connected with crucial information to make informed decisions about their learning, goals, and post-graduation life. This tailored approach addressed the specific needs and stages of each student, fostering a sense of community where advice was shared, opportunities were identified, and proactive steps were taken to help students meticulously prepare for their future.
Ninth-grade students were greeted with a visual display of course offerings for the coming academic year. The course fair not only covered exciting options like Game Design or Math for Personal Finance but also included essential information on graduation requirements, course prerequisites, and different teaching models, such as project-based learning.
Students also participated in a careers inventory, where they considered the age-old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" During this workshop, students reflected on their interests and goals, beginning to think about possible career opportunities. Additionally, students were introduced to the fundamentals of preparing a resume.
Tenth-graders gathered to consider the different programs offered in the high school, including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and standard ASH courses. This combination of programs is unique, as ASH is the only school in the Netherlands to offer Advanced Placement courses. Providing a range of pathways is essential to ensure that students have ample opportunities to take control of their own learning, a key element of the school's vision.
These students also participated in the course fair with a sharper focus and clearer understanding of learning pathways and the courses available within those pathways.
Eleventh-graders were introduced to life beyond ASH through the lens of Mathijs Schellaars '05, Operations Staff Officer for Urban Search and Rescue, a Dutch-based organization conducting rescue operations in the Netherlands and throughout the world. Mathijs spoke about his experience at ASH and his not always linear professional journey – from car sales and hospitality to management roles in a Fortune 500 company and postings in the Dutch Navy – that led him to a life of service.
Most importantly, Mathijs encouraged students to find something that gives them purpose and joy, sharing, "My biggest advice for you is to do what you love and love what you do. I definitely would not be the person I am today if I had not come to ASH, as my experience here helped me in so many ways for all the transitions I faced in my life."
n addition to hearing from Mathijs, students attended a seminar preparing them for the college process, where counselors and advisors shared recommendations on researching universities, soliciting recommendation letters, filing applications, and resume preparation.
Already deep in the college process, twelfth-grade students used the morning as an opportunity to develop life skills and think more deliberately about their life after graduation. As part of a life skills workshop, faculty facilitated lessons ranging from the basics of cooking – including how to make instant ramen gourmet – and budget management to vacation planning, self-defense, and even how to do laundry.
The inaugural CareerQuest was a true success and served as a meaningful opportunity for students to contemplate their future. "The insights gained from today's CareerQuest empowered students with the vital information needed to make informed decisions about their academic courses, pathways, and life beyond ASH," says Assistant High School Principal Laura Brown. "Witnessing students' curiosity, thoughtful inquiry, learning from the experiences of alumni, and participating in life skills workshops were truly inspiring."