Exploring Possible Career Paths at the CTE Showcase
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
FEBRUARY 12, 2019 – Jack Parker, who goes to Jefferson Middle, wants high school to be an inspiring and engaging experience.
With that in mind, Jack and his mother, Carol Parker, headed to the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Showcase at the Career Center on Wednesday night to explore possible paths.
There, they had the opportunity to learn about 32 CTE programs from more than 40 teachers as well as a number of students participating in CTE programs. Programs included health sciences, business, cosmetology, culinary, fashion design, masonry, sports marketing, and more.
“The purpose is to allow students and parents the opportunity to come and see all the offerings we have in CTE,” said Bruce Sherman.
He and Shirley Bynum are Co-Executive Directors of CTE.
The showcase also enables students interested in a program to connect with the people teaching and participating in programs that interest them, Bynum said.
Students can participate in some of the CTE programs at their home schools. For others, they may spend part of the school day at the Career Center.
Holden Sharp and Alexis Tadlock, whose home high school is Reagan, participate in the Nursing Fundamentals program at the Career Center.
For Sharp, it’s a natural first step toward reaching goal of being a nurse in an emergency room.
“I like this path because I like helping people,” he said.
“I also like helping people,” Tadlock said.
For her, the path to doing that is to become an ultrasound technician.
“I am really interested in how children develop, and I want people to see the gift of life and how beautiful it is,” Tadlock said.
Participating in the program in high school gives you opportunities to be hands-on, working with people, Sharp said.
And it saves you and your family money, Tadlock said.
At a nearby table were people from North Forsyth High, which has become a magnet school with a NAF academy that focuses on health sciences. NAF is a national program that supports high school CTE academies.
“This program gives you a lot of knowledge to become what you want to be,” said Aaliyah-Rae Jackson, a North Forsyth senior who definitely wants a career in the field of health, perhaps as a registered nurse or a doctor.
Allied health teacher Randi Jackson is amazing, Jackson said. “She definitely helps us a lot.”
As part of NAF programs, students serve internships. Teryn Hynning, who is the academy coordinator at North Forsyth, said they have been working hard to establish new ones, and they’re particularly excited about the new internship with the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
“The Wake Forest one is going to be incredible,” Hynning said. “Incoming med students going to Wake Forest will be working with our students.”
Vickie Wheeler, the school system School-to-Career Coordinator/Academy Director, also talked about a new internship with Comfort Care Home Health that will have students spending time in a retirement community.
At the West Forsyth High table, business teacher Will Burns talked with visitors about such West Forsyth CTE programs as sports marketing and fashion marketing. On display were “shoebox” displays that West Forsyth students had created to show businesses they imagined owning one day.
Ryan Meadows, who is a junior at Walkertown High, wants to be a professional firefighter one day, so he is participating the school’s Fire Academy. As part of that, he is serving as a volunteer with the Walkertown Fire Department.
As he sees it, becoming a firefighter is a good career with good benefits, and he is getting a lot out of the program itself.
“It’s a very interesting class to take,” he said. “You can learn many different skills.”
Chief Eddie Bottoms leads the Fire Academy at Walkertown. Although it is the only in the school system for the moment, it will have company next year. Glenn High is establishing a Firefighter Academy for the 2019-20 school year.
Walkertown also offers a public safety program that, among other skills, enables a student to become certified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Tonya Scott, who teaches that program, was also on hand.
After completing the program and graduating from high school, Scott said, students can go straight into the workforce. There is a shortage of EMTs, she said, so there is no question about them getting a job.
Students can also use the program as a first step on a path that requires additional training such as becoming a physician’s assistant.
She has been teaching for more than 20 years and finds it rewarding to help students learn how to help others.
Teachers Jill Ogburn and Yolanda Shepherd-Reid were on hand to talk about the cosmetology program at the Career Center.
One of the points Ogburn made was how much money a student can save by taking the program without cost during high school rather than waiting until college.
Cosmetology student Alisha Meredith, whose home school is Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, envisions having her own shop one day. A number of other cosmetology students were also on hand at the showcase, and visitors who wanted could get a hair trim from one of them.
Next to the cosmetology table, teacher Jeri Barnhardt was talking to people about the Early Childhood Education program she leads at the Career Center.
Skyler Gibbons, whose home high school is Mount Tabor, was on hand to talk about his experiences taking the collision repair program offered at the Career Center.
“I always had a fascination with repairing cars,” he said.
He has enjoyed the program, and, after serving in the Marine Corps, plans to come back and pursue a career in working cars.
The collision repair program is relatively new, and teacher Joshua Hall said they are working on getting the accreditation that would enable graduates of the two-year to go directly to work.
At the Parkland High table, Kisha Wall, who teaches accounting and other business courses, said that one of her goals is to help students develop skills that will serve them well in the real world.
“I would like kids to gain a better understanding of business and how it works,” she said.
She also wants them to get a sense of opportunities available to them as entrepreneurs.
In addition to her responsibilities at Parkland, Wall is working with three other teachers across the state to develop a new accounting curriculum for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
During their time at the showcase, Jack and his mother went from one table to another. By the time they were done, they had talked to representatives of many of the CTE programs.
“I had no idea all of these courses were available,” Parker said.
Sports marketing is one potential path that intrigues Jack, and he and his mother were delighted to find that it is offered at his residential high school – Mount Tabor.
“I’m really glad we came,” Parker said.