Heritage Academy students gain life skills at job prep competition

It’s career week at Heritage Academy in Augusta, and they wrapped up with a job prep competition Friday.
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:16 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s career week at Heritage Academy in Augusta, and they wrapped up with a job prep competition Friday.

The goal is to push kids to develop the life skills needed to get a job and handle other professional settings.

The school also brought in local professionals to be judges. We stopped by the find out how the event turned out and meet the kids working on developing the perfect handshake.

When it comes down to it, nailing a job interview isn’t all about the experience, it’s working to make sure the first impression is lasting. To win the competition at Heritage Academy, students have to shake it up to check every box.

“Everybody was in there panicking, like, I don’t want to look bad, I’m a stutter, this type of stuff, everybody will just kind of all over the place,” said MaKayla Cannady, winner.

Cannady says she’s been preparing for weeks.

“I’ve been asking people for advice and strategies I can use. Because getting around a lot of people and getting to know a lot of people was kind of anxious to me, and I don’t know if I’ll slip up or anything,” she said.

She’s talking about preparing for Heritage Shakes up Augusta, where students put their skills you can’t find on their resumes to the test.

“I held eye contact as best as I could. But I would look off there like I am now. Because I’m trying to think. I had to practice firm handshakes because I’m not used to shaking people in. So my brother, he kind of helped me with that,” she said.

Dr. Cherie Murray says her goal to leave a lasting impression is what landed her the winner.

“I was looking for the communication, that communication skills, were at a level to where they should be at their age. Give me eye contact, that they were able to hold a conversation,” she said.

Preparing Cannady and her classmates for anything that comes their way.

Associate Director of the School, Tana Watson, said: “We live in a society where everyone’s looking down at their phones. And so learning that skill of eye contact, and for those nervous people, let’s look at the nose. And just those essential tools in their toolbox to get them where they need to go. It’s something that we don’t often put a high focus on. But it’s really the thing that gets you in the door.”