May Thao is a senior at Pontiac Academy for Excellence and in the third year of our Workforce Prep program. With help from her career mentor, Lida Kuehne, supplier quality development at General Motors, May has developed some important decision-making skills and is preparing for her future.
May met Lida during the second year of our program. They connected almost immediately through their shared interest in food and cooking.
“We started talking and getting to know each other,” said May. “I learned that we both love cooking and food and baking. We connected.”
“In addition to foods, we both have a love for animals,” said Lida. “Which ties into her interest of medicine.”
Like many high school students, May had dreams for her future but found the challenge of chasing her dreams confusing and difficult.
“I’m a normal high school girl,” said May. “There’s a lot of things that I’m interested in. I was motivated but struggled to make decisions. I was stressed about my education, career stuff, and life.”
With help from Lida, May learned how to evaluate situations and use a pro/con chart to help make decisions.
“The first decision she helped me with was related to my job,” said May. “I wanted a new workplace but didn’t know what to do. Ms. Lida taught me how to use a pros and cons chart to evaluate my options and make a decision. I wrote both jobs down on paper and used columns to write down the pros and cons of each. I was able to see things more clearly. We did that together and it really helped.”
May is interested in careers in the arts or medicine. She will continue to meet with Lida throughout her senior year, doing deeper dives into career exploration, putting plans together for her continuing education, and fine tuning her job readiness skills.
“Ms. Lida taught me that it’s okay to take your time and not to rush. I learned how to make tough decisions and to be mindful.”
“I always learn something from her as well,” said Lida. “May shows me how to see things in a different way. Sometimes as an adult we lose sight. There is more than one way to look at the world. May has given me better vision than eyeglasses could.”