Noli students learn important job skills

High school sophomores Ronald Morillo, Edgar Gladin and Selaya Helms work on the homepage design for their imaginary business, T.A.G., or Trade and Go, at Noli Indian School, Tuesday, March 26. Valley News/Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians photo

Freshmen and sophomore students at Noli Indian School at the Soboba Reservation spent the past two weeks preparing for a day devoted to job skills. Ninth graders learned how to complete a job application, create a resume and take part in a mock interview for a proposed job as host/cashier at Soboba Casino Resort.

While the job is an actual position that is offered to those 18 and older, the students practiced their interview skills for future positions. Each was graded on a rubric that gave them 10-25 points based on four categories that are important for any job candidate to possess.

They were rated on professional business attire, preparedness by arriving with application and resume in hand, speaking clearly and distinctly while exhibiting good posture and eye contact throughout the interview.

One of the volunteer interviewers was Eliza Persons, who is currently a receptionist at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon and previously worked as a director at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning.

Afterwards, she said her interviewees were excellent.

“I’ve had much worse interviews with full-grown adults,” she said. “I got the vibe they would all like to work at the casino one day, which is exciting for the Tribe and the casino’s future.”

Also helping to give students a real employment interview experience was Kathy Small, who has worked for Soboba’s Human Resources department for three years but has been employed by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians for the past 12 years.

“I like to see where the kids are at and help them get ready for going out into the world,” Small said.

She was impressed that the students she interviewed all referenced working at Powwows and other Tribal events.

Sophomores were asked to work in small groups to create a business and design a mock homepage that would appeal to visitors to their website. They were not told what the assignment would be in advance, and they did not choose their own teammates. It required them to work together and make group decisions within the 15-minute time limit they were given. Each group was given time to present their business to judges who asked them questions they took turns answering.

Using a rubric with scores of 1 through 10, students were graded on how well they communicated with each other to figure out solutions, whether they used their time wisely, and if they exhibited knowledge and confidence during the presentation while engaging with the judges.

After a few minutes of brainstorming, the creative teams came up with very different business ideas and worked well together to execute their design and organize their page to reveal what their business offers.

Serena Hawk, Xavier Moreno and Shawna Rivera made Sports Live, a subscription service that allows customers to pick and choose which sporting event they want to watch, past and present, after a free trial.

Edgar Gladin, Selaya Helms, Ronald Morillo and Leland Razon launched T.A.G., which stands for Trade and Go and allows customers to trade goods or services of equivalent value.

Franciso Lemus, Sandie Pimentel and Sophie Resvaloso offered an eco-friendly clothing line at Sophie’s Fashion Store, whose initials reflect their first names. The site offers all types of affordable items, including seasonal items as they also repurpose materials to manufacture baskets, flowers and home decor.

“Our clothing is good for the environment and comfortable to be in,” Lemus said.

Facilitating both events was business manager Genna Santini, who has been at Noli for 10 years. The annual event is mandatory for ninth and 10th grade students to attend as it is worth a portion of their English grade. There are no make-up dates and students are encouraged to dress to impress.

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