After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, Dos Palos High’s Portfolio Day has returned.

Portfolio Day gives students in the school’s ROP/CTE program an opportunity to go through a mock job interview with business community members. According to the school’s ROP coordinator, Lisa Conger, around 200 students used the opportunity to hone and practice their job interview skills.

Students are graded by their interviewer on everything from wardrobe, handshake, eye contact, and answers to specific questions. They also present their portfolio, which features a collection of awards, citations, work experience, resumes, and introductory letters.

“For the last three years, we have had to do Zoom interviews because of Covid,” said Conger. “It was great to be back for in-person interviews. Our students were able to showcase their best work to potential employers and industry professionals.”

Fresnan Susan Birmingham, who is retired from the medical industry, participated in the process for the first time and was impressed with the students she interviewed.

“The students completed their interviews well,” Birmingham commented. “All were prepared; however, some were very shy, and others very confident. In my group, the seniors presented themselves so well that they seemed ready for immediate employment. My students had career goals, including automotive body repair, nursing, law, finance, and retail management.”

She also applauded the school’s effort in setting the program up.

“Preparing students for real-world situations, including employment, is an essential duty of schools,” she explained. “I applaud Dos Palos High for the structure and professionalism of their program.”

Conger was indeed happy with not only returning to in-person interviews but also how the day unfolded.

“Our Portfolio Day was a success because of the time and support given to our students from staff and community members,” she said.

DPHS instructor Jenny Hunger wholeheartedly agreed.

“It was a resounding success, especially considering it was our first in-person event in three years,” commented Hunger, who also serves as the school’s Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator. “The energy in the room was palpable as students proudly displayed their work to our industry partners, potential employers, and their peers.”

Hunger was also thankful for the interviewers’ time and effort.

“It was truly heartening to see the level of dedication displayed by our industry partners, and I want to extend my thanks to all of them who took the time to attend and offer their insights and advice. Their support is essential in helping our students bridge the gap between education and the working world.”

Companies that participated included: Union Pacific, Merced County Ag Commissioner’s Office, The Westside Express, Indio Surgery Center, US Marine Corps, US Army, Sean Davis Farms, the Dos Palos School District, and The Morningstar Packing Company.

Heather Hennagan conducts an interview with student Oscar Alvarez.
Lucia Lopez interviews student Gilbran Garcia.
David Borboa