Last Thursday, I had the good pleasure of attending the 23rd Annual Eighth Grade Business Luncheon, which was held at the Mountain Lodge Conference Center at Snowshoe.

The original idea for this program was the brain-child of Ruth Taylor, about 24 years ago. When I asked Ruth about the program, she immediately commended Cara Rose for taking the program and building it into what it is today. Overall, I enjoyed the experience so much, I wanted to help spread the word. Parents and citizens alike should be aware of the tremendous opportunity this particular program provides our youth.

I listened to reports about the Tourism Club, ProStart culinary class, and the Cast Iron Skillet Cook-off.

The program included break-out sessions on various topics. One such session had to do with hiring and firing in the age of social media. The reoccurring statement was “we live in a world that doesn’t care” about personal behavior. But, the teaching point echoed back, re-enforced an important take-away for the students and was a powerful reminder. That point being: the company you may apply to for work, or the person tasked with interviewing and making the decision to hire you, or not, does care. Therefore, we need to care, too.

Other positive aspects had to do with presentation of self, dressing for the part, demonstrating an eagerness to learn. Over a wonderful lunch, students had an opportunity to learn and display table manners, what it is to network, and how to exchange ideas that can be used to build a career and support a great future.

Teaching and learning these important life-lessons used to be the norm. I must admit, I have wondered if any of these lessons still existed. Some of us may have thought that they did not. But, I am happy to report they do still exist in Pocahontas County.

All the teachers and those who support this, or other like programs, are to be commended. I mean everyone.

Before leaving, I heard one student ask, “who is the most important person on the mountain.” The answer: The bus-driver.

This outing ended up being one of the recent joys of the Mayor’s office. These students were a wonderful, well-behaved group who will go far in life, because of a willingness to learn.