(From the Rome City Schools):

Rome High School educators are always looking for ways to enhance the learning experience for students who will soon enter the workforce or college. Part of what they must learn is how to complete sometimes simple tasks associated with adulthood. By exposing students to hurdles often not found in textbooks, RHS hopes that graduates will have extra tools on their belt needed to get the job done.

Twilya Toombs (RHS Student Support Coordinator), and Kirsten Thornante (RCS Director of Social Work) decided to organize a day meant for teaching skills that reach beyond the classroom. So, Adulting Day was born. And with the help of community leaders, Rome High students got a crash course in adult-related challenges and how to overcome them.

“We hope to pass on tools our students can use in their future,” Toombs explained. “They can use these skills at their homes, in emergency situations, to complete basic automobile care, and care for their mental health. We are also talking about nutrition, and how to eat healthy meals. Our opening session even included an investor who was teaching our students about how to manage money.”

Dale Alexander, president of Alexander and Company, was one of three guest speakers who covered various topics. Alexander spoke about how to save money and how investments can lead to the financial freedom to explore life’s passions. Stephen Daniel of Next Generation and associate pastor at Cornerstone Church detailed how to set goals, how to overcome challenges and passed on many nuggets of wisdom young people can use to navigate their world. And Finally, Mark Upton, program director of business administration, gave a talk that touched all the best practices needed to be a successful adult and how to become a contributor to a better community.

After the opening ceremony, students divided into groups and headed to different teambuilding and informational stations around the campus.

“The sessions will cover employment interview skills, communication skills and much more,” Toombs said. “Mr. (Louis) Byars presented this goal to us a few years ago and now we can have guests on campus. We are glad to be able to host this event face-to-face because it is more interactive. The students are also able to complete hands-on activities. I reached out to Mrs. Thornante from Central Office and she said that she would love to be a part of this day. She is so passionate about passing on these skills to RCS students.”

“I think that it’s so important to offer a variety of experiences for students that take them outside the traditional classroom environment,” Thornante said when asked why this effort was important to her work in the system. “RHS is great about addressing these needs, and this was just another level for our students. I was immediately and totally on board. I had proposed something like this several years ago and was excited about the possibility of it coming to fruition.

“We have the Teen Maze for all ninth graders,” Thornante continued, “and that is an experiential program that gives them access to community agencies and professionals who have expertise in different areas. Why not try to do something for our seniors as they approach that launch to adulthood? We learn differently when we experience something or hear about it from a different source. A lot of these lessons are likely parts of conversations students have had with their parents over the last few years, but sometimes hearing it from a professional who specializes in the area helps the information land and really sink in. We also want to expand the way young people see the community and bring awareness to the fact that there are many terrific organizations around Rome who serve as great resources for them. We are lucky to live in a community that wants our students to thrive.”

In the end, any information that can help to deal with life’s obstacles is well worth a listen. Only time will tell if RHS students were able to carry much of what they learned across the stage in May.

“I am so thankful for all of the help and support from all who helped to make this day successful,” Thornante said. “We hope to see it grow to include more community professionals and topics that can really help enhance the lives of seniors as they cross into adulthood.”