By Tony Parra
Portales Junior High School students were in full force amongst the Portales workforce on Thursday.
Eighth-grade students were learning all of the tricks of the trade at various Portales jobs as part of their class. The students were informed on Monday that they would need to job-shadow at a place of employment on Thursday.
For eighth-grader Josh Gutierrez, the choice was easy. Gutierrez said he wanted to work alongside his mother, Gloria Tapia, at Village Pharmacy. So Gutierrez showed up on Thursday and worked a shift from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“I wanted to work at Village Pharmacy because my mom works here,” Gutierrez said. “I think some of the customers were wondering why I was helping out. I did get a few funny looks.”
Tapia said her son also helped shelve items, answer phones, ask customers if they needed help and bagged prescriptions.
“He’s a great kid,” Tapia said. “He spends his money wisely and knows the value of a dollar. He helped his uncle, Rafael Zapata, with his house-cleaning job. Josh is in student council, sports and he likes to help people.”
Tapia said a smile came over her when she saw her 14-year-old son in a white shirt and tie on Thursday morning, getting ready for work. Tapia has been working for Victor and Linda Baca for 10 years as a Village Pharmacy technician.
“It’s great working there,” Tapia said about Village Pharmacy. “He (Victor) thought it was great that Josh wanted to work at the pharmacy. I think it’s great to give kids a chance at this age to figure out what they’re going to do and get an idea of what direction they want to take in life.”
He said he learned about a part of the building which is used for compounding prescription drugs.
“It’s a little different working with my mother,” Gutierrez said. “I’m not used to seeing her all day. I liked it.”
Gutierrez said he looks forward to sharing his experience with his classmates and listening about their experiences the next time he talks to them.
Gutierrez said approximately 26 students selected the workplace they wanted to work at. Gutierrez said some of the students chose to work at the Portales Country Club and Yucca Telecommunications, also.
David Lucero and Brandon McAfee learned about the telecommunications business from the inside on Thursday. Mike Joiner, Yucca’s central office technician, said Lucero and McAfee worked in the Yucca Hut, a steel building behind the Yucca Telecommunications helping connect advance fiber communication wiring.
Joiner said Lucero and McAfee updated the wiring by unwrapping blue, red, yellow and green wires and adjusting them to the correct connections. According to Joiner, this process helps to connect Qwest to Yucca phone lines.
“They were good,” Joiner said about the students. “It’s (program) good for them. It’s good for them to see what’s out there after they graduate.”