Students Gabriella Santamaria, center, and Millie
Salinas sit with Capt. Tim Dehring of the West Bend
Police Department during the Power of Networking event
Thursday in the West Bend West High School cafeteria.
Ralph Chapoco/Daily News
WEST BEND — More than 60 students spent their morning at
the West Bend West cafeteria Thursday morning, learning
about various career possibilities, along with the
training and education required, when they complete
their secondary education.
Representatives from the Casa Guadalupe Education Center
hosted their Power of Networking event, inviting about
40 professionals from the community to meet with
students from their Dream to Succeed initiative.
“I honestly was really impressed with the students,”
said Maria Gutierrez-Gurrola, the Hispanic literacy
coordinator for Casa Guadalupe. “Like I said at the end,
I cannot speak enough about our students and the
program. For as nervous as what they were coming into
this, I think the professionals did a great job of
guiding them and really assisting with that networking
goal they had to meet.”
The event featured several rounds of networking
presented in a variety of formats. According to the
itinerary provided, it began with a breakfast in which
several students sat with professionals at the different
tables available in the cafeteria after obtaining their
It offered participants the chance to introduce
themselves, their backgrounds as well as the types of
careers and industries they were interested in working
in upon graduating from high school.
“I am really interested in photography to be honest, just seeing pictures
and being able to capture a moment in a picture, it is
so cool to me,” student Francesca Vela said.
Once breakfast was completed, Gutierrez-Gurrola then
reviewed the goal of the gathering as well as the rules,
before allowing the professionals and students to mingle
amongst themselves — similar to other networking events
for adults who network when changing careers or seeking
Brenda Ehrlich, Director
of Inspire Washington County, speaks with students
Thursday at the Power of Networking event hosted by the
Casa Guadalupe Education Center. More than 60 students,
all Hispanic, attended the gathering to learn more about
potential careers once they graduate high school.
Ralph Chapoco/Daily News
the following 20 minutes, professionals working in a
variety of fields, from health care to manufacturing, as
well as financial services and law enforcement,
described the companies they worked for and the various
job prospects in their respective industries.
They also provided advice for students planning their
future careers and informed them about the different
resources that are available for choosing a career, as
well as education training possibilities.
“If they think they are going into something such as a
self-employed business, they should get that
well-rounded business background, pay attention to those
business classes, learn everything they can because that
will help them in the long run,” Thrivent Financial
Associate Ramiro Paz said.
The event culminated in a question and answer session in
which the professionals lined themselves along the wall
of the cafeteria, making themselves available for
questions in an open setting.
“What is one thing you wish you had done differently
when you were in high school?” one attendee asked.
The answers ranged, from participating in job shadowing
opportunities, to keeping their minds open to different
In the end, they also received guidance for how they
should live their lives.
“Be kind to other people,” said Capt. Tim Dehring from
the West Bend Police Department. “People who are
mean-spirited do not get opportunities.”