Washington native Logan Francisco struggled to find her career niche. Now she’s found it helping others find their own place.
Q: You are the career development coordinator at East Wake High. What exactly does your job entail?
A: “Essentially, our goal is to help the high school student figure out what their next step is. We give them a number of tests to help them figure this out, like the military placement test, or we do a career style inventory. They answer questions about their likes and dislikes, and then we see where their answers may place them. We are also a liaison between the business community and the school.”
Q: How can area business people help the high schoolers?
A: “They are a huge help. We use them to do mock job interviews with the students. Sometimes, they offer internships at their business. They speak to the students about life skills they will need to be successful in their future jobs. We have even used them as proctors during state testing.”
Q: How did your interest in this job come about?
A: “When I graduated from high school, I went to N.C. State. I didn’t initially know what I wanted to do. I took those freshman introductory courses to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I really struggled.”
Q: Sounds like you needed someone like you when you were in high school.
A: “I did (laughing). I mean, I had great parents, and like most parents, they were like, ‘We want you to go to college. You are going to college,’ but what about life after college? I eventually majored in textiles. It was while I was in college that 9/11 happened and then later, there was the economic downturn and the United States, especially North Carolina, ended up losing a lot of its textile industry. I didn’t want to move overseas, where the textile jobs were going. I did return to school and got my education degree from East Carolina University. I (taught) design at the high school level. I especially liked the computer-aided design, but eventually, I just got the feeling that I was not helping the students like I should so I got a job where I figured I could help students with the same things that I struggled with. I am now back in school, working toward my master’s in counseling.”
Q: How long have you worked at East Wake High?
A: “This is my first year. Before coming here, I worked at West Johnston High. I coached the swim team while I was there and I had the No. 1 swimmer in the state at the time (Sarah Henry). She even competed in the preliminary competition of the Olympics.”
Q: Your personal life also keeps you busy.
A: “I have a 13-year-old daughter who takes dance and a 4-year-old son who plays soccer, so I stay on the road a lot (laughing).”
Q: Are you a native of the area?
A: “My family is from the Washington, D.C., area. We moved to Rocky Mount when I was 13.”
Q: For a future teacher, it must have been great growing up in the Washington area.
A: “It was. Our field trips would be to the White House, the memorials, the Smithsonian, the museums. It was a lot of fun.”
Q: What is your most memorable field trip?
A: “When we were in fifth grade, we took a trip to the White House. Our teacher knew one of the Secret Service agents who was going to give us a tour of some of the places you usually don’t get a chance to see. President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were in the White House at the time. We were going to see their bedroom but then at the last minute, he found out Mrs. Bush was in the bedroom and we had to quickly change our plans.”
Q: What was your favorite thing about growing up there?
A: “It was a family tradition for us to go every year and see the Christmas trees (in an area across from the White House) and we would always go to the same restaurant. Each state had a tree decorated with decorations pertaining to their state, and then there would be the one huge Christmas tree in the middle. My husband and I have continued the tradition and we take our kids back every year.”
Q: What would people who know you be surprised to find out about you?
A: “Well, people who know me would definitely say I don’t look like a camping type but when I was 15, I spent five weeks on a bus with other teenagers – and of course we had chaperones – touring the United States. We went all the way to California and back. We went parasailing, we hiked the Grand Canyon, we camped out. It was a lot of fun. There aren’t many parents who probably see themselves placing their 15-year-old daughter on a bus for a five-week trip with a bunch of other teenagers but it was really a great experience. I got to see the United States and take part in experiences I wouldn’t have had a chance to do otherwise.”
Correspondent Dena Coward