Build career in SD, students toldWESSINGTON SPRINGS — Alumni of Wessington Springs High School encouraged students Tuesday to build their lives and careers close to home.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
WESSINGTON SPRINGS — Alumni of Wessington Springs High School encouraged students Tuesday to build their lives and careers close to home.
The event, called the Career Extravaganza, was hosted by students from the school’s employability skills/careers class and was attended by students in grades seven through 12.
The event featured a panel of four former students — Jewel Kopfmann, Alex Dean, Jeff Burg and Cam Christensen — who each discussed how they got into their career and gave advice to students.
Sophomore Jase Kraft, one of the students involved in organizing the event, said he hoped students would learn “just because they’re in a small community doesn’t mean they can’t do big things with their jobs.”
Burg, who graduated from Wessington Springs High School in 1986, worked for several companies in the agriculture industry and now runs his family’s farm near Wessington Springs. He shared advice with students researching career options.
“Keep your mind open to all the different possibilities,” he said. “It’s weird the paths you take to get to the places you wind up.”
Dean, who graduated from Wessington Springs High School in 1994 and now works from his hometown doing web development, gave similar advice.
“Spend time with things that you’re interested in,” he said. “You don’t have to go to college with a career in mind.”
All of the panelists are working in South Dakota and explained why they chose to work in their home state.
“I was positive I was leaving and never coming back,” Dean said of his attitude after graduating from college. He now works from his home in Wessington Springs after traveling overseas to Europe and South America following college and working in Arizona after returning to the United States.
“Day to day, to me, this is a really nice place to live,” Dean said, adding that being able to work remotely from his computer at home is what made living in Wessington Springs possible.
“All around the state, it’s kind of like one big small town,” said Christensen, who graduated from Wessington Springs High School in 2004 and now works in advertising for the cattle industry.
“What you grew up with is what you want to go back to,” she said.
Kraft said he felt the event went well and explained what he took away from the panelists’ advice.
“Going places and seeing new things is a good way to start off life,” he said. “I really want to see the world, but I’ll probably end up back here sometime.
Sophomore Jase Kraft, right, introduces a panel of former Wessington Springs High School students who returned Tuesday afternoon to discuss their careers and give advice to current students in Wessington Springs. The panel was joined by Superintendent Lance Witte, left, and included, from left, Jeff Burg, Cam Christensen, Alex Dean and Jewel Kopfmann.