Adulting 101 - Part 2

HAMPDEN, Maine (WABI) - Getting the skills you need to be a successful grown-up can be tougher for young adults these days.

Classes like home ec are not the norm. And family time has tightened up, so it's hard to pass on life lessons.

Adulting can definitely be hard for those between the late teenage years and mid-twenties - a phase known as emerging adulthood.

Knowing that, why are we launching kids out of high school without some basic survival skills?

Staff at Hampden Academy has some answers - and solutions.

Jacob Clark's assignment in Advanced Foods today - create a fancy dessert that has to include chocolate.

His response - raspberry white chocolate mousse.

"My thought is I've never done mousse or anything like it, but it's gonna come out awesome."

Clark is one of more than one hundred students at Hampden Academy who've taken a cooking course this year - for more than just the food.

"It kind of makes you more prepared for what you really have to do, which is like like cooking and stuff because it's a big, I think, a big part of life to be able to know how to do this and everything. It's just awesome that they teach this here."

Senior Zoey Bishop says, "This has help me a lot. Like where to find recipes, how to follow them, how to change them if you need to."

"We are one of very few high schools in the state that's actually doing programs of this nature."

Family and Consumer Science teacher Valerie Maurais says they're fading away because of changes in education and a more intense curriculum.

"Yes, you can take all the AP courses in the world, and I applaud kids that are able to do it. But in the bottom end, how are they taking care of themselves? To me, it's life lessons that we have lost as we look at moving forward."

Economics teacher Joel Hills says because soft skills aren't easily tested or standardized, they're more likely to disappear.

About eight years ago, he started teaching a unit on real world budgeting - one every junior studies.

"Balance a checkbook, what is a budget, how do you go about getting insurance, what's credit, what's a credit history? Those sorts of things."

"It was like, ahhh! I have to have insurance and I have to have a place to live, heating and electricity and transportation, and oh no! It was very eye opening," says junior Audrie French.

For Principal Bill Tracy, it's about weaving those everyday skills into various courses.

"So one piece goes in an English course, the other pieces in an economics course, that microeconomics piece. Trying to balance out the requirements of a well rounded rigorous education, but also incorporating those life type skills to adult well. I think finding ways to do that has to be a priority."

Junior Noah Burpy says, "I'd like to have some of the soft skills so when I'm not in class or studying or something, I can prepare a good meal rather than going out and getting something or making Ramen noodles or a box of macaroni. I feel like that would just be a more holistic education."

Students in Kristin Leithiser's Career Communications class research future jobs and prepare for interviews. But her classroom mission can apply to anyone in the school.

"Most important thing I think is for students to imagine into the future and see that what they're doing now is going to make a difference in their future."

Which is what young adults need more of to be successful - from the career field to the kitchen.

Senior Bryiana Mooers says, "I think it gives an opportunity to be prepared to move out of your parents' house and to be able to cook on your own."

Maurais agrees.

"To me, I'm putting people out in the community who can say, wow, I can do this and I can help others."

Principal Tracy says helping more kids prepare for adulting also takes partnering with the community and local businesses.

That can give students a chance to job shadow or take internships where they can really see the skills they have and the ones they need.