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Pathways program is helping student turn passion into a potential career  

Ponies basketball player Gionna Carr has always thought about turning her love of sports into a career, but she wasn’t quite sure how. Her path became a bit clearer, however, after a conversation with Bob Manning, the Stillwater Area High School Pathways coordinator. Manning suggested the senior take a career inventory assessment called YouScience. The platform uncovers students’ natural talents, matches them to careers, and gives them personalized feedback on how their abilities can be utilized in school, work, and in their daily life. 

Carr took the online assessment and met with Manning to go over the results. She was excited to learn that being a sports agent was the best career fit for her.

“It was cool when I saw that come up,” said Carr. “I think I’d be really good at it.”

Manning connected Carr with Kate Foley, who oversees public relations and marketing for Octagon Basketball. Foley represents several professional players including Golden State’s Steph Curry,  Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jarrett Culver.

Carr set up a Zoom meeting with Foley to learn more about her career path, and the two talked for an hour and a half. After speaking one-on-one with Foley, Carr said she is even more convinced that she wants to be a sports agent.

“I see a lot of myself in Kate,” said Carr. “I like how she’s a girl boss in a predominantly male field.” 

After meeting with Carr virtually, Foley also came to the high school to speak to the SAHS Sports and Society class about her job. Later, she was joined by Timberwolves guard Jarrett Culver in the auditorium where they answered questions from a larger group of students. Foley asked Carr to introduce them and lead the question and answer session to give her some public speaking experience.

Carr relished the opportunity and says she’s excited to attend Tennessee State University this fall and start her journey toward becoming a sports agent.

The Pathways program at the high school is all about helping students explore their interests and connect with professionals in various career fields. Students have the opportunity to discover their talents and interests, gain real-world experiences with local industries and community partners and select courses that match their career goals. 

“Connecting students to professionals in a career field of interest is one of the most valuable things Pathways provides - and it's easy,” Manning said. “Students who participate in experiences like this have a renewed sense of purpose, see the relevance of schoolwork and achieve more current and future success.”

Learn more about the Pathways program at stillwaterschools.org/pathways.


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