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Students at Aquinas Catholic High School had the opportunity to learn more about potential job opportunities in manufacturing, while also taking tours of area companies in Columbus during recently held MFG Day.

Several companies hosted students, allowing them to show off the many jobs available in the industry and at area manufacturing firms. Those companies were Behlen Mfg. Co., ADM, Cargill, Becton Dickenson, Valmont Industries, Superior Industries, Duo Lift, Miba Industrial Bearings, Northwest Electric, Torin Products Inc. and Central Confinement Services.

Aquinas teamed up with students from Scotus Central Catholic for a visit to Superior, ADM, Behlen and Miba, along with a light lunch along the way. At Superior, students toured the facility, learning about all the different ways that Superior crushes, screens, washes and conveys rocks at quarries all over the world.

The event served as a good experience for Angie McMahon, a special education teacher with David City Public Schools working for Aquinas. McMahon brought two of her students along to show them that there are plenty of opportunities after they graduate from high school.

“My students aren’t going to college, (so) we’re looking for places for them to work that will train them,” McMahon said. “That’s why we try to go on these trips, because with the IEPs and everything, now we have transition and assessments. It’s just a good place for them to understand if this would be something that they’re interested in.”

McMahon likes to use this as a way to illustrate the transition from high school to real life, which could provide students with a good place to work after they graduate from high school.

“We do it for the transition,” McMahon said. “We need to make sure that these kids have someplace where they can work and be productive in society.”

For McMahon’s charges, the day was an opportunity to see if a place like Superior was good for them. Alex Pernicek listened and saw the action at Superior and realized that while it was interesting, it probably wasn’t the best place for him after high school.

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“This one seemed a little hard for my abilities,” Pernicek said.

“He feels that this is above what he can do,” McMahon added.

McMahon noted that Pernicek is more than willing to provide his services and abilities after he graduates from high school, but that crushing rocks would be best left to someone else.

“(I would rather have) something at my pace,” Pernicek said.

“He’s willing to do work,” McMahon said. “He wants to work, he just doesn’t know where. He wants it to be at his skill level.”

While a place like Superior was a poor fit for him, something else will assuredly be the apple of his eye.

“If they like it or don’t like it, they need to know that,” McMahon said. “They need to try to discern, ‘Where do I want to work? What do I want to do? They do want to be productive in society.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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