Ethan Mitchell Takes On All of Waukee CSD’s Opportunities

Ethan Mitchell, a senior at Waukee High School, has taken advantage of all that Waukee Community School District has to offer. If there’s an opportunity to get involved and prepare for a stronger future — Ethan’s done it. And he’s had fun doing it, too. From internships to speech and debate to football, Ethan has made the most of his time as a Waukee CSD student.

Ethan Mitchell 2

Ethan working at Ramco.

Gaining Experience in APEX

During his junior year, Ethan took the Architecture & Engineering course through Waukee CSD’s APEX (Aspiring Professional Experience) program. Throughout the semester, Ethan gained hands-on experience with DLR Group. He recalls it was his first time going into another business and working with professionals. Not only did his class learn about and use software, but they were also given a demo project to redesign the office building.

“The APEX program, as a whole, I’m a big advocate for it. It’s a really great opportunity that I think every Waukee student should utilize,” says Ethan.

After the course, Ethan used his experiences and connections through APEX to land an internship with Accumold, where he learned how to make micro-molded parts that are used in pacemakers, hearing aids, and more.

“Both APEX and this internship instilled in me workplace ethics and being able to talk to people and carry myself in a professional way,” Ethan explains. “They taught me how to set myself apart from someone else when competing for a job.”

In the fall of his senior year, Ethan took another APEX course: Engineering Technology & Robotics. For this class, he worked with Ramco and helped design a trade fair demonstration.

“It’s such a great opportunity to be involved in a profession you might want to enter,” Ethan says. “I mean, I’m able to work with robots. Come on now, that’s just awesome!”

Ethan Mitchell 3

Ethan at an iJAG function.

Growing with iJag and School-to-Work

In his junior year, Ethan enrolled in Waukee’s iJAG program, where students can explore potential career paths. He acted as the civic awareness vice president and helped coordinate iJAG events and activities.

“We did a lot of career exploration and went on field trips to see different businesses and companies,” Ethan explains.

Ethan Mitchell 6

Ethan working on the set of Spamalot.

Next, Ethan stepped into a School-to-Work internship during his senior year. He was placed with the Waukee High School’s theater department. As the scenic designer in the auditorium, Ethan designed and built sets. This spring, he fully designed and built the set for Waukee High School’s musical, Spamalot.

“I don’t think there’s another student in Iowa who manages scene design. Normally it’s a role held by an adult. I’m doing something really special,” Ethan says, explaining that he’s even won awards for his design work.

Ethan Mitchell 5

Ethan performing for speech and debate.

A Unique Combination of Extracurriculars

In addition to his work-based learning experiences, Ethan has also engaged in many other activities outside the classroom. He is part of National Honor Society, where he frequently volunteers for the community. He also helped plan and set up his school’s winter formal.

Additionally, Ethan is grateful for his experiences with the speech and debate team at Waukee High School. He says he loves being on a stage and messing around with his friends while creating something with them.

Football player at football game.

Ethan playing during a Waukee High School football game.

Ethan’s involvements also extended to athletics, playing wide receiver and defensive back for the Warriors football team. He finds ways to combine his various activities, too. For example, he got some of his football teammates to help him build the sets for theater.

“I’m lucky that I got to play football and do theater at the same time because I don’t think that’s a common combination,” he says.

Ethan Mitchell 1

Ethan working on the set of Spamalot.

Ethan’s Future Beyond Waukee CSD

After graduation, Ethan will be attending Oregon State University to study natural and forest resources, as well as fire science. His biggest advice to future Waukee CSD students is to get involved and stay involved.

“Being involved is a blessing. I learn something from every community. I’m able to take that with me and it’s part of who I am.”