Education Is A Community Investment

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White's Interior and Design was one of the many businesses in Rim country that hosted a local student for the annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day Thursday.

"It's important that we try to teach our young people," said Diane Atchley, president and designer of White's. "This gives us a good opportunity to do that. I think we have been doing this for over five years."

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Payson High School junior Vanessa Larkins spent Thursday job shadowing Diane Atchley, president of White's Interior and Design. Larkins is interested in pursuing a degree in interior design. "(White's) is a good business and it seems that they have faithful customers," Larkins said.

Interested in a four-year degree in interior design, Vanessa Larkins, a junior at Payson High School, jumped at the opportunity to spend six hours learning from the pros.

"(White's) is a good business and it seems that they have faithful customers," Larkins said as she flipped through the pages of a sample book.

Having already been on a customer consultation with designer Tammy Phillips, Larkins was looking for a contemporary border that was eight-inches in width, and matched the color scheme the customer provided from a pillow sham.

"You can't learn a lot about the business sitting here," Atchley said. The first priority was getting Larkins involved with the customers.

In the guidelines provided to businesses by the school, job shadowing is meant to demonstrate the connection between academics and career, build partnerships and introduce students to the requirements of different professions.

Larkins has a long way to go, and Atchley is not afraid to tell her that.

"You are looking at a four-year degree and then an internship," she said.

Interior Design is a broad term encompassing any number of specialties.

Inspired by her mother's love of rearranging, Larkins is planning to attend college in San Diego that specializes in design.

She and Atchley discussed how to make inexpensive changes to Larkins' room using throw pillows and blankets and even how to rid the room of animal odors using paint.

Education is a community service that Atchley does not shy away from. High school home-economics classes visit annually and when an interior design class was offered at the college, Atchley hosted the group in her shop for some hands-on training.

"It's strictly our satisfaction in helping the students," Atchley said of the benefits reaped by her business. "We have the experience --e should not hoard it, we should share it."

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