We did it! The 2020 Virtual Youth Career Olympics enjoyed by many

When Governor DeWine issued his stay-at-home orders in March, Y.O.U. Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) students were in the middle of preparing for the annual Youth Career Olympics (YCO), scheduled for April 16. Business volunteers had been assigned to visit schools to help students practice. Competitors were writing their speeches, drawing their program covers, brushing up on their interviewing skills, and designing their visual displays.

With the Olympics just weeks away, multiple JOG sites in Ohio made the decision to cancel their events. But in true Cleveland “can do” spirit, Y.O.U. pushed ahead and transformed the YCO from a day-long, in-person event to a week-long virtual competition.

With abundent creativity and planning (and with extra help from technology), the Virtual YCO debuted on Monday, April 27. More than 100 students competed in nine events. Here’s how they did it:

  • Community Service: Students prepared a PowerPoint presentation with audio explanations, which Y.O.U. then converted to videos. Maple Heights ECAC placed first. View here.

  • Corporate Team Challenge: Students competed online using Kahoot. The teams with the highest scores advanced to the next round. Shaker Heights High School placed first.

  • Decision Making: Students interviewed with volunteer judges via Zoom. Chris Chism from John Marshall High School placed first.

  • Employment Application Review: Students filled out an application based on a life scenario, which was then reviewed by judges. Ayonna Parrish from Glenville 1 High School placed first.

  • Employment Interview: Students interviewed with volunteer judges via Zoom. Casey Amato from Oberlin High School placed first.

  • Employment Test: Students entered an online portal where they had to answer 51 questions in 40 minutes. Edward Szalay from Shaker Heights High School placed first.

  • Program Cover Design: Students designed a cover based on this year’s theme: “How has JOG made an impact?” Robert Stewart of Euclid High School placed first. View designs here.

  • Public Speaking: Y.O.U. staff traveled to students homes and neighborhoods to film their speeches. Jakori Brooks-Haynes from Oberlin High School placed first. View their speeches here.

  • Visual Display: Students used the online program, Canva, to design a poster based on this year’s theme. TJ Wilson from Glenville 1 High School placed first. View designs here.

It wasn’t always easy. Employment Interview competitor Diamond Boyd’s phone died the day of her interview. Assistant Manager of JOG Heather Goode met Diamond during her break in the McDonald’s parking lot where she works. Diamond proceeded to give a second place winning interview using Heather’s phone!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event successful. A special shout out to our sponsors for supporting the event, emcee Tiffany Tarpley, Josh and Maria Cribbs for their daily inspriational message, volunteer judges for giving their time during the week, Y.O.U. staff for working together to ensure we had a competition, Y.O.U. board members for cheering us on, and all the people who enjoyed the events.

If you missed the event, it’s not too late! Watch the Virtual YCO here.

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