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Alta Vista students test their interviewing chops

Original post made by Nick V, Mountain View Voice Staff Writer, on Jan 28, 2011

Students at Alta Vista High School have the chance to try their hand at interviewing for a job today, Jan. 28.

A handful of local businesses are sending representatives to the school from 10:30 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. to read résumés, cover letters and give the students pointers on how to nail a job interview.

The event, organized by Doreen Bracamontes, who teaches English at Alta Vista, is meant to prepare seniors for getting their first job out of high school.

Bracamontes came to Alta Vista from Oakland, where she first found her passion for teaching students who -- for one reason or another -- struggled with the college prep curriculum. She said just believing in a student who is struggling in high school empowers that student.

While many at Alta Vista plan to go on to college, some will want to enter the workforce right after obtaining their diploma, she said.

"This exercise is very helpful for them," she said. Students will receive constructive criticism in a non-threatening environment.

The seminar is an outgrowth of the school's advisory program, a class she leads each Friday that teaches things like household finance, how to write a cover letter and how to apply to college.

That Friday class and the mock job interview day are two examples of how Alta Vista teaches to "the whole student," Bracamontes said.

"Anywhere you have a pocket of socioeconomic need," she said, as is the case in many Mountain View neighborhoods, "you have those students that require a teacher who really cares about serving the whole student."

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