Natchitoches Parish Technical and Career Center: Student Absenteeism

In an effort to combat student absenteeism, and to increase student and community involvement, Natchitoches Parish Technical and Career Center has combined their Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) and their Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) organizations to create the school’s first ever student council. While JAG is a program used to teach students life skills, as well as the skills needed to make them more marketable when seeking employment, YVC is a program geared towards community service.

According to Principal Bobby Benjamin, “By combining these two popular programs at our school, it is our hope to use the newly formed student council to give our students an active voice on our campus. We feel that this will increase student attendance by making school fun. Listening to student input on school events, afterschool programs, and field trips will not only motivate students to want to come to school, but it will also make a positive impact in our community’s involvement with NPTCC, as well. Including the students as an important part of our decision-making process, we expect to fulfill our vision of being the number one alternative school in the state of Louisiana.”

Coach Kedrin Seastrunk will be the sponsor for student council this year, with assistance from the school’s JAG coordinator, Mr. Richard Ratliff. “I feel this is a good opportunity for our students to create positive events that support the Natchitoches community. It will also teach our students the democratic process of working together to achieve common goals,” Ratliff states. Coach Seastrunk has been the YVC sponsor at NPTCC for the past three years. Entering his fourth year, he says he sees the impact YVC has on his students. “YVC teaches students that giving can be more fulfilling than receiving. We have created postcards for senior citizens, collected water and can goods for citizens affected by Hurricane Ida, as well as participated in the Fields of Faith program with NSU’s FCA last year. We want our students to feel connected to the Natchitoches community. Sometimes, students can feel disconnected from their community because they are still trying to find themselves. YVC shows students that the responsibility of growing a thriving, positive environment rests on all who live within it.”

The first event sponsored by the student council will be a pep rally celebrating back to school and the first grading period of the new school year on September 30th. The school event will be hosted by two members of the council and held with the DREAMs Foundation, a program that adopted the school last year.