83 Degrees Media (December 19, 2023)
When Dunedin High School seniors need help navigating their paths to college or a job after graduation, they can turn to “Miss Lessley.”
As the school’s college and career coordinator, Carole Lessley helps the students map out post-graduation plans for success, identify schools offering the academic programs they’re interested in, work through the college application process, find and apply for scholarship and financial aid opportunities, prepare for standardized tests and stay on top of application deadlines.
Of course, a four-year college degree is not the only route to a good-paying job. The College and Career Centers connect interested students with career certification programs at Saint Petersburg College and Pinellas Technical College. Cyber security, drone pilot training and certification as an emergency medical technician or an electrical lineman are a few examples of the workforce training opportunities available. There are apprenticeships at the national firm Power Design in several construction-related trades and military service opportunities.
“Any student can look and find something they want,” says Campbell Hudson, a Dunedin senior planning to attend Seton Hall University on a scholarship. “Miss Lessley has said before she wants everyone to leave high school and have a plan, whether its college, career or the military.”
In 2020, the nonprofit Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools partnered on the College and Career Centers program to ensure every student has the opportunity and guidance to create a plan for the future. After starting in a handful of schools that first year, the centers are now in all 17 high schools in the school district.
“We take great pride in the expansion of the centers to every high school this year,” says Pinellas Education Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kim Jowell. “We appreciate the district’s commitment to this work and are grateful for the dedication of the center’s coordinators in helping students and their families create a post-secondary success plan. Having students that are well-prepared for life after high school builds a brighter future for them and the community.”
Pinellas Education Foundation and 83 Degrees Media have an underwriting agreement in place to spotlight Education Foundation programs that work toward equitable education achievement, economic prosperity and future success for all students.