Paul D. Camp ‘escape room’ career event draws nearly 70 high school students

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

by Wendy Harrison

Sometimes you’ve got to multi-task in order to make informed decisions while evading the “Career-Sucking Zombies.”

On Saturday, students posing as the creatures served as metaphors for what students should strive to not become as they decide their career paths. The “Escape the School” event focused on exposing the students to a myriad of professions and careers.

“Some students don’t really know what they want to pursue after they graduate high school,” said PDCCC High School Career Coach Susan Stubenrauch. “Each ‘escape room’ represented a career or profession. Students engaged in teamwork and used clues and strategies to solve specific issues related to the field, such as HTML coding, pipe fitting and transportation.” They had 30 minutes in each of the nine rooms.

“Escape the School” was co-hosted by Paul D. Camp Community College’s High School Career Coach program, The Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads, and Opportunity Inc. at the PDCCC Hobbs Suffolk Campus on Kenyon Road. Sixty-seven students attended from all of the PDCCC service region public high and private schools, as well as three students from Western Branch and one from Sussex.

“This was a huge success,” said Stubenrauch. “Through a follow up survey, we’ve learned that students enjoyed working with students from other high schools, and they want us to expand the number of rooms next year.”

Professionals volunteered to coach students through each “Escape Room,” according to Stubenrauch. “Representatives and industry experts from 360 IT, Rolls Royce, Southside Regional Medical Center, ECPI, Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls, U.S. Navy and National Guard, Suffolk Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the three PDCCC locations, and Opportunity Inc. Youth Career Center participated in the program,” she said.

There was also a room designed to let the students decompress and another to educate them about the Virginia Community College’s Education Wizard — a tool launched in 2009 to help guide students on education, career and workforce goals.

“This has been very informative,” said Sydney Stubenrauch, 15, of Lakeland High School about the event in Suffolk. “I was able to get some ideas of what career I might like to pursue.”

For more information about the High School Career Coach Program at PDCCC, log onto

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Paul D. Camp Community College. She can be reached at