Diversified Occupations Program provides novel learning experience
By AVERY HEVERLY
LOCK HAVEN — Colby Stoner, a senior attending Central Mountain High School, is one of 20 students involved in the Diversified Occupations Program. Colby is participating in a unique learning experience that cannot be easily found in many public schools.
The Diversified Occupations Program, commonly referred to as “DO”, is for students who are interested in a career field that Keystone Central School District does not offer as a formal program. DO has an enormous amount of support backing it up as Superintendent Jacquelyn Martin and director of Keystone Central Career & Technology Kurt Lynch are both huge advocates. In previous years, this program had declined to the point it was no longer implemented and now it has become a priority for the years to come.
“This program provides relevance to learning experiences and is another example of why KCSD is becoming the school of choice for young adults in the area,” exclaimed Martin.
The goal of DO is to provide students a chance to be working in environments where they thrive. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all curriculum” states Mrs. Daci Killinger, Cooperative Education Coordinator. KCSD leaders are striving to provide unique programs because they know that everyone has different needs. Colby Stoner’s story is one example of how this program is working.
Stoner is employed as a full-time 3-Dimensional Modeler for Jump Button Studio. He developed his love for this profession while taking part in the iD Tech Curriculum last school year. Then, last summer, he had also attended a weeklong iD Tech Summer Camp at Carnegie Mellon University where he was praised for being advanced in his knowledge and skill. This motivated him even more and Stoner took his love for this profession to the next level. He attended Game Jam which is a “hackathon” solely focused on video game development. It was after that event that he was offered a modeling job from one of his teammates at the jam.
Because of DO, Stoner’s school day consists of the first four periods of school, and then he leaves campus to go to work. Those duties include designing in the studio, marketing himself, participation in a lot of research, and ultimately building up his portfolio.
Stoner works with clients who will message him a 2D photo that he is to transfer into a 3D object that they are able to use. “It’s my job to make sure it looks as realistic as possible.” In addition to that, he needs to do it on a small enough scale that it does not crash the platform.
Mother, Angela Stoner, admits that she has mixed feelings about this opportunity. “It’s such an incredible opportunity for him to get a jumpstart into the workforce environment, but at the same time, I can see the pressure that it puts on him.” Angela has put trust in her son to let her know where his limits are and is extremely thankful that Colby has chosen this path for himself. She emphasized her support for DO calling it a very “novel” program. She sees the opportunities that it has given Colby and how it has very well given him a reason to go to school each morning, stating, “This program is on the right path.”
Stoner has learned a lot throughout this whole process. Something that he holds close day in and day out is that connections are everything. With those connections he built a semi-portfolio, got a name for himself, and ultimately changed his life. He also learned that confidence is a must have for this type of profession. Stoner’s last piece of advice is to, “never offer anything for free.” You need to have confidence in your work in order to be successful in this advancing environment.