It's that time of the year again when high school seniors start to start to realize that high school is almost over and determine the next direction of their life. One of the most important decisions a person can make is their chosen profession. Before we get into how one can become eligible to win the $500 cash award, I want to share with you how I made my decision to pursue dentistry as my profession.

I had been involved in the scouting program since I was eight years old and that provided glimpses into many different professions and skill sets. There are over 100 merit badges one can earn from Archery and American Business to Welding and Woodworking. While a teenager, I had become interested in a few different professions.

My father was an electrician so naturally I helped him at times with different jobs and although I enjoyed the ability to start and finish a job and see a completed product, I didn't see as much interaction with other people that I enjoyed.

I also job shadowed an architect. I remember when I went to job shadow him, I was so excited. At that point in my life, I knew that I wanted to be an architect as much as a small boy knows he's going to be a professional baseball player. I would sketch house designs during class and finish the designs at home. All my excitement ended pretty abruptly after a short time with a local architect. It became very apparent that what I thought an architect did was much different that what they actually did the majority of the time.

Not long after that experience, I was invited to job shadow a dentist who was also one of my scout leaders. Being a dentist was no where on my radar at that point. I remember my opportunity to job shadow him was so interesting. He had a root canal, extractions, fillings, and several exams scheduled that day. Each person, each procedure he completed was different. Each patient had a different story and was so thankful to him for helping them get out of pain. After that day, I continued to training required to become a dentist and what he enjoyed and didn't always like about what he did.

Being able to job shadow several professions led me to a profession that I continue to learn and enjoy.

Now, onto why you are on this page.The requirements to become eligible for the $500 cash award is the following:

     1. You must be a senior in high school during the 2017 school year in Bonner, Boundary or Kootenai County. Family members of Pine Street Dental Employees are not eligible.

     2. Complete 4 hours of job shadowing with the profession of your choice. This profession can require a college degree, trade school or even no additional traditional training. Once again, the choice is yours. We have chosen this format versus only being eligible if one is going to be attending a college or university because we understand that there are many worthwhile professions that do not require you to attend college. Please have the person you job shadow with sign a sheet stating that you have completed the job shadowing.

     3. Write an short essay of no more than one page single spaced, #12 font. Do not include names of businesses or people in the community with whom you job shadowed. The objective of this essay is to describe what was learned from job shadowing and how this experience has affects you moving forward.

     4. Return the verified job shadow record and the essay to our office no later than 4:00 pm on April 10, 2017.

The winner will be chosen by three volunteers from the community. Pine Street Dental is sponsoring the award, but will not determine the winner.