American author Mark Twain said it best, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” After finding their passions through the Comal Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, many alumni would agree with Twain including successful photographers, educators, health-care workers, roofing contractors, electricians, automotive workers and more.
“Through the Ready, Set, Teach program at Smithson Valley High School, I got a lot of hands-on experience in a classroom for two years,” says Emily Alexander, who graduated from SVHS in 2013 and returned to Comal ISD to teach after receiving her degree in education from Texas A&M University in College Station. She currently teaches math at SVHS. “The program allowed me to determine if this was the career I wanted to pursue.”
Through a variety of CTE programs like Ready, Set, Teach, students have the opportunity to either discover or explore their passions through old-fashioned hands-on education. Students may choose from programs that focus on education, healthcare, construction, automotive, fashion, photography, culinary arts, entrepreneurship and more.
“The opportunities are extensive,” says Tina Olcott, Comal ISD CTE coordinator. “Our programs give students the opportunity to explore an interest and possibly spark a passion that may lead to their dream job or career.”
Students in the construction program, for example, at all three of Comal ISD’s traditional high schools have the opportunity to apply for paid internships with area construction companies who teach them on-the-job skills from roofing and plumbing to electrical services and home construction. Often, these internships lead to full-time employment.
In addition, some CTE programs offer students the opportunity to earn certifications which provides them with employment possibilities upon graduation. These certifications include basic life support for healthcare providers (BLS), certified patient care technician (CPCT), certified phlebotomy technician (CPT) and automotive service excellence (ASE) to name a few.
“Through CTE programs, students are not just learning how to weld or how to bake a cake,” says Margaret Edmonson, the SVHS journalism adviser and commercial photography CTE teacher. “They are gaining real-world experience to put on college and job applications.”
CTE Month is celebrated every February, and this is the second article in a series of articles featuring CTE at Comal ISD.
-Smithson Valley High School students enrolled in the CTE health science program worked with local health-care providers to middle school students various life-saving techniques during the Control the Bleed program. Pictured here from left are Pieper Ranch Middle School sixth grader Aniyah Gill, SVHS senior Alexia Harris and PRMS sixth grader Joselyn Hart.