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McAuley students receive career advice from alums

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Photo by Kelly White
Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan, a 1974 McAuley High School graduate, talks with Brigid Barkmeir (at left), 17, and Anne Farrell, both of Oak Lawn, at McAuley’s Career Day on Feb. 28.
By Kelly White
Megan Lehocky said attending Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School helped to pave the way for her career success.
A 2009 graduate of the high school at 3737 W. 99th St. in Chicago, is now an associate broker for AmWins Brokerage of Florida, Inc.
“McAuley was a very important part of my life,” said Lehocky, now of Satellite Beach, Fla. “It set the foundation on how to be professional.”
With graduation approaching, Mother McAuley students were able to learn about career paths that former students chosen, like Lehocky, had chosen at the high school’s annual Career Day on Feb. 28.
“I’m so grateful for the alumnae who have set aside time from their busy schedules to spend the morning with us,” said Mary Acker Klingenberger, the McAuley president. “It’s important for our young women to see how the skills and strategies they are learning within the classroom translate to a variety of opportunities and professions out in the world. Speaking with alumnae demonstrates to students how job-specific skills also complement soft skills, such as: networking, teamwork and collaboration, and creative thinking and reasoning. Together, these set them up for success by making them the most desirable job candidates for employers.”
McAuley officials said they were thrilled to welcome back more than 70 alumnae and friends, including Sylvia Reed Curran, office director for the U.S. State Department and 1975 McAuley graduate; state Rep. Fran Hurley (D-35 th) and 1978 McAuley graduate; and Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan, a 1974 McAuley graduate.
“My roots started at McAuley and I’ve grown ever since,” Quinlan said.
An invitation to participate at the event was shared on the school’s website, social media sites and via email.
The day provided opportunity for students to learn about career paths and to get advice from experienced professionals, and provided for alumnae the chance to give back to their alma mater by speaking about their passions and talents with future graduates.
“It’s nice to hear from women of a variety different fields and who also attended McAuley,” said Maura Maloney, 17, of Evergreen Park.
“You really get to see first-hand how successful our McAuley graduates are,” said Anne Farrell, 17, of Oak Lawn.
Also, students were able to learn about how a McAuley education helped paved the way for the graduates’ career choice and continued success.
Career Day tends to be popular with the alumnae and teachers, as well, McAuley officials said, because they look forward to the day as a beneficial teaching experience and as an opportunity to catch up with former classmates and mingle with former classmates.
“Career Day is an annual event and a great opportunity for students to learn about career options and get advice from experienced professionals,” said Jennifer Ligda Busk, director of marketing and communications at McAuley. “Likewise, it allows alumnae to give back by speaking about their passions, talents and experiences with future graduates.”
The day began with a brief presentation and breakfast for alumnae attendees, then a career fair for students.
At the fair, students, ranging from freshmen to seniors with allotted time slots, were able to visit alumnae at their designated tables and have the chance to ask questions about their respective careers.
“It’s really great to meet all of the graduates and to see all of the amazing career opportunities available to us,” said Jessica Urbaniak, 18, of Oak Lawn.
Students were sent the participant bios and sample questions in advance. Additionally, teachers were encouraged to spend time in class pointing out participants whose careers are relevant to their subject area, and help direct students who may have expressed interest in certain areas, to visit specific alumnae.
“Mother McAuley alumnae are accomplished leaders, scholars, CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs in the field of medicine, politics, aerospace, law, education, technology, the arts, science, engineering, architecture, culinary arts, aviation and much more,” Busk said. “Career day highlights many alumnae in these fields while helping to inspire and direct the next generation of McAuley graduates.”

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