On the Job: Keonia Thompson

TeenQuest alumna Keonia Thompson is a 2017 graduate of Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, where she took part in the International Baccalaureate program. While in TeenQuest the students were hard at work learning what it took to be a professional in the workforce, it didn’t mean there wasn’t time for game nights and occasional giveaway events from the food pantry. However, the focus was on learning interview preparation and resume building, which helped give her the confidence she’d need after school.  

After graduating high school, Thompson attended the University of Michigan-Flint where she received her Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on writing. Currently, she is in a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan-Flint. Thompson currently works for the Flint & Genesee Job Corps as an OTP/ACT Health Coordinator.  

After she graduated from TeenQuest, Thompson didn’t continue with the Summer Youth Initiative, however, she was able to see the program in a different light when she worked with an intern who had been part of the program.  

“I had an intern, and she was amazing,” said Thompson.  “I never had to ask her if she got her work done, I never had to ask her if she knew what she was doing, she was just always on top of things and always ready. She’s amazing,”  

While she is currently working on her master’s degree, she still sees further education beyond that.  

“I always believed the more knowledgeable you are the more things you can get in life,” said Thompson.  “School has always been a priority for me,” said Thompson. “I think I see myself more in education. I’ve always wanted to go and get my doctorate, so I could teach creative writing at a university. That’s always been my ultimate goal.” 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

I greet my students. I get them prepared for their classes. I let them know what time they need to be there. Get them to their buildings. Then, I make sure I am doing paperwork on my end so they are getting their credentials and state boards. Things like filing out FAFSA, helping with homework, etc. 

How did lessons learned in TeenQuest help you on your path to your current position? 

I learned how to interview with TeenQuest. I kid you not, any time I interview for a job, I always get it. I have TeenQuest to thank for that with the mock interviews. That was really helpful. 

What skills did you use from TeenQuest when interviewing for your current position? 

I used this trick where if you get nervous you interlock your hands and use your thumbs to massage your palm.  

Do you have a memory or moment that stands out from the program? 

Yeah, it’s when I met Mr. Keith (O’Neal), and he was amazing. Always energetic. Whenever anyone was mad, he was there. He was like the father of TeenQuest. 

What advice can you offer current and former students of TeenQuest/Summer Youth Initiative? 

Get every opportunity that you can. Anything that you can get to learn and to be successful, take advantage of the opportunities.