Burlington Township High School students shown paths for the future

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A group of New Jersey high school juniors, who are making plans for their future, got to see just how many options there are for them to explore. (WPVI)

143 students from Burlington Township High School ditched the books Monday for some real life experience that may help them choose careers after high school.

"I really get a feel for a day-to-day basis, what we would be doing, the kinds of things we need to work on, skills we can build up on," student Jessie Feoli said.

It is part of the school district's project PATHS, that stands for "pursuing adulthood through high school."

The idea is to expose juniors to a variety of jobs locally and let them learn what it takes to be successful in that field.

"Having been here for 11 years, I understand how many careers there were inside a school district and this is a very low-cost way of allowing our juniors to explore," Interim School Superintendent Mary Ann Bell said.

"There are some kids that I know that our seniors and they don't understand what jobs they want yet, just having us get this opportunity is just a major step for us," student Brandon Ortiz said.

Almost 50 mentors, including Mayor Brian Carlin, met with students to describe their work experience and answer questions. The kids also learned about interview skills, resume writing and budgeting.

"How much to spend on bills and how much to save for food and to not just blow your money," student Edgar Quintanilla said.

"See if there's anybody interested to succeed us. I mean, we're not going to be here forever and I'd like to start to nurture the next round of people who are going to run this community," Mayor Carlin said.

This is the first time project PATHS has been offered to students and the district began preparing for this event a year ago.

Based on the response from the students, it was time well spent.

"It was definitely worth it. We got to open up to new job opportunities like public works, mechanics, we got a small feel of like real world jobs," student Jake Sitzler said.

"It definitely increased my interest in being a police officer. It's a good day," student Sirvon Wigglesworth said.

And that's something you can't necessarily find in a book.
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