The second year of Frederick High School’s LYNX — Linking Students to New Experiences — program has come to end and was celebrated this past Wednesday in the FHS auditorium. The celebration was focused on thanking LYNX partners for their past two years of service and dedication to students.
Most LYNX partners are businesses and organizations in the surrounding Frederick County and Maryland community that spend time with students throughout the school year by serving as guest speakers, providing tours of their facilities, and mentoring groups of students.
“The partner experiences were really cool because we got to hear from people who have done the job every day. We got to ask them the questions we wanted to know and learn about the career,” said Alex Sohm, a ninth-grader who participates in LYNX and went on more than 10 different off-campus experiences this school year.
One of those off-campus visits was with the Frederick Police Academy, and Alex has now decided he wants to join the academy after graduation and become an officer.
“Frederick holds a lot of good opportunities and well-paying jobs, so I don’t need to move to L.A. or New York,” said Alex. “I can get all the same jobs here and the life experience I need.”
And Alex is not the only student who has found their future career through LYNX.
Meghan Burgos, a tenth-grader, has always loved to write but LYNX helped her identify her passion for music journalism. Through the program, she has met music producers and toured studios and said it helped push her to start her own website.
Meghan said the program may not help every student to the extent that it helped her, but that it’s important to have the opportunity to go out into the real world and make connections.
“Of course there’s still going to be kids that don’t know what they want to do, but at least they’ve had these experiences,” she said.
Lawrence Casanova, a local real estate agent, teamed up with LYNX this year. He held on-campus sessions with 10th graders throughout the year to help them start identifying their passions and what path they want to pursue.
“It was good for them to see that even as a 10th grader ... if you know what it is that you’re passionate about, it can take a million different forms from there,” said Casanova.
Casanova also brought in Shari Auldridge, owner of Staged Above, a local home staging service and interior design studio located in Hagerstown, as a guest speaker this year.
Auldridge counseled students by speaking about her past as a teen mom who didn’t attend college but then grew into a successful business owner. Auldridge said she wanted the kids to know that they can experience challenges in high school and be successful later in life.
On Thursday, students participated in one of the last off-campus experiences of the 2018-2019 school year. A group of 13 freshmen, sophomores and juniors spent the first half of their day at The Kitchen Studio, a culinary school in Frederick. The kids learned to cook an entire menu and got tips on how to work in the food industry from owner and chef Christine Van Bloem.
Within three and a half hours, the group learned to make garlic noodles, chicken piccata, Caesar salad, Red Lobster-style cheddar biscuits, and strawberry and Nutella crepes.
Frederick Country Public School Superintendent Theresa Alban also stopped by to observe the session.
“I enjoy opportunities to interact with our students and I’ve been hearing a lot about the LYNX experiences,” said Alban. “I’m just really impressed with the fact that, yes, it’s an experience, but it’s also showing them how what they’re learning in school connects to careers.”
Alban said she hopes the LYNX program can eventually spread to other Frederick County high schools.
“We’re only two years in,” she said. “We want to see a cohort go through [and] want to make sure the model works, and then I know that our board definitely wants to look at expanding it. And we just need to make sure we have the money to do that.”