LiveInspired displays student passions through art



Visitors in the MLK room during X-block Thursday Oct. 10, view the final portfolios of students in the LiveInspired program.

It is all too easy to feel lost whenever thinking about the future. Given the complexities of higher education, the prevalence of new and developing technology and constantly changing career options, it can be overwhelming to try to look too far ahead. 

For 12 students this summer, the LiveInspired program helped them find careers they are passionate about, and their recent showcase allowed them to show this to the high school.

The LiveInspired program, held over ten weeks in the summer, was a series of seminars that helped participants discover their passions and investigate how they could apply them in a career. The showcase, which began during X-block on Thursday, Oct. 10, and remained open throughout the day, featured each student’s final presentation: a portfolio of their self-discoveries printed on a poster and displayed in the MLK room. Each student included three of their career interests, which ranged from dermatology to photography to marketing, and wrote several paragraphs about each career option.

In a video that played during the showcase, senior Kaitlyn Harris said that she was grateful for the program for showing her career paths she had not considered before.

“I liked that the workshop is geared towards projecting us towards careers that aren’t typically thought of,” Harris said. “In school, we learn a lot of the traditional routes, teachers, doctors, lawyers, but I’m not really interested in any of that. So the fact that we get a lot of opportunities to talk about our interests, and how they can make a career or go into non-traditional careers, I think that’s really beneficial.”

One of the program’s features this year was a trip to New York City, where participants got to visit the offices of major tech companies like Twitter and Google. Adebukola Ajao, the LiveInspired director, said she was impressed by the students.

“They asked a lot of good questions, and they knew what they liked, they knew what they didn’t like,” Ajao said. “I admire the fact that they’re high school students, they’re teenagers, and they were able to walk into those offices very powerfully and ask bold questions of adults, like ‘why don’t you have this?,’ ‘why doesn’t Twitter have that?,’ ‘what is Facebook’s culture like?’ They really did their research, and I admired how brilliant they were to be in those spaces and ask those questions.”

Junior Kaeno Kasu said the program allowed him to explore several career possibilities.

“I like photography and business management, so to get new connections will help me in the future,” Kasu said. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people who can help me out in the future, help me move forward in my life and in my photography career.”

Ajao also said that for participants going forward, the next step is to apply their connections from the program and find further opportunities to gain experience in their prospective careers.

“Some students are already in college, so they’re going to add these projects to their college portfolios. And for other students, we’ll hook them up with internships,” Ajao said. “That’s what we did with those office visits, we helped them connect with adults, young professionals who can help them in their career and mentor them.”

The showcase allowed the participants to share the knowledge they gained from the program with friends, family and faculty at the high school. Each participant put their own portfolio together as a ten-page magazine and did all the graphic design themselves. Ajao said the design was an important part of helping participants develop skills with technology.

“It doesn’t matter what you want to do in life, having 21st century skills is important,” Ajao said. “That’s kind of what this program is about, giving students, regardless of what they want to do, 21st century skills, and the opportunity to study their passions and see what careers can come from it.”