“Film Festival showcases Takoda Prep community and gives students opportunity to network with local professionals from the community 

Networking is an important formula – a little bit of charisma, an open mind, some practice, and just a bit of luck. This tool is a crucial one in the professional world, and it is one that can usher in a new career, endless connections, and a solid support network. High school students get very few opportunities to learn networking in school, not to mention practice it. The students at Takoda Prep are getting a jump start on this vital life skill that, if given the right place and time, can catapult them to where they want to be. 

At this November’s JAG Film Festival and Networking Event, nine Takoda Prep students represented their school and community in what would be an incredible experience for years to come. The event took place at the Capri Theater on Broadway Avenue and included dozens of other high school students as well as valuable individuals with whom they could network. This group included realtors, film editors, human resources specialists, community planners, program managers, and many more. There were employees from many companies including Wells Fargo, US Bank, Fruit of the Loom, Hennepin Healthcare Systems, as well as countless others. 

 The ability to network was something these students truly had to work towards. JAG instructor Kyna Bate-Boyle spent weeks teaching students techniques, phrases, body language, and even proper attire to have successful interactions with employers. Ms. Kyna also had the students create their very own business cards. These business cards were a reflection of professionalism and the networking preparations truly helped the students feel like confident young adults who could promote themselves and make connections. 

Once at the event, the students flourished. As they mingled in a relaxed, open setting, introductions between one another and the professionals occurred organically. Students were not forced to talk with anyone, and from this format came natural connections between people. Clayton, a senior, said that the event was a chance to get to know what it’s like to talk to people you don’t know and practice public speaking skills. Even though some students were shy at first, having trusted adults nearby, such as Ms. Kyna and Jess Rousseau (PLUS Case Coordinator from Takoda Prep), allowed the students to be comfortable enough to step out of their shells. Another senior, Chariah, said that the set up of the room allowed her to see others networking, and that made her feel at ease in doing the same thing. Even though there was pressure from being in a new environment, having many other high school students and easy to talk to professionals made the event a success. 

The event concluded with a short film festival exhibiting each alternative program in Minneapolis Public Schools. “The students worked very diligently on creating a film that truly showcased what Takoda Prep encompasses,” said Ms. Kyna. It was extremely powerful for students to view their school on the big screen and show off the amazing work they do at Takoda Prep. They were also able to see other alternative programs which gave them perspective and showed that they aren’t alone in the alternative education world.  

All in all, the event was a great success. The students walked away from it feeling more confident than ever before with a wonderful new experience that will propel them forward in their lives.