Before heading off into spring break, Waxahachie High School CTE instructors and students had an opportunity to share the program’s opportunities with the district’s fifth-graders.

All eight WISD elementaries participated in the fifth annual Career Expo hosted by the CTE program in its new facilities on the high school campus. 

“We had 725 fifth-graders come through,” said Gay Johnson, CTE coordinator. “There were 19 stations covering our 16 different career clusters.

The stations were set up throughout the wing as the fifth-grade classes rotated through each, seeing demonstrations and having the ability to participate in question-and-answer sessions. Also assisting in the presentations were the program’s numerous community partners, including local businesses.

“Our community partners are a key to anything we do in career education,” Johnson said. “They’re experienced in their fields and can tell the students about educational requirements.”

In addition to local businesses, Tarleton University and Navarro College representatives also were on hand.

The career expo is intended to expose the fifth-graders to what their futures could hold and to pique their interests in areas they might not have considered. It’s part of an overall WISD plan that starts at the kindergarten level to raise students’ awareness about the vast opportunities available to them in life.

The plan focuses on exploration through the elementary years, with further emphasis on aptitude and interests in junior high. In high school, the students can start taking courses and begin internships.

“There are thousands of jobs available through the 16 career clusters,” Johnson said. “[The fifth-graders] can see what’s in store for them and what ties into their interests.”

Statistics indicate that 93-percent of all WHS students will have taken at least one CTE class as part of their school work. 

“CTE is for all students,” Johnson said of the benefits, whether students go on to college or directly into the workforce.

The event was sponsored and organized by the WISD CTE Department and the WISD elementary counselors. In addition, WISD support services and transportation departments contributed to making the day a huge success.

"The objective of the fifth-grade career expo is to expose students to the language and organizational structure of career education and its relationship to business, industry and services within the community," said Amy Vance, CTE program access coordinator.

"We would like to thank the following for being guest speakers and presenters at our event," Vance said, listing Tarleton State University - Midlothian, Navarro College, Chef Joel Skipper – WISD Culinary Arts Teacher, Whitney Young – WISD Cosmetology Teacher, Wes Winn – Ellis County Sheriff's Office, Obi Ononobi – Altus Emergency Center, SFC Maribel German and SSG John Powell – U.S. Army, Dana James – WISD Curriculum Department, Matt Authier – Gateway Mortgage, Sandy King – Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, CNB, KBEC, Lonnie Gaylor, Lockheed Martin, Mikel Craig – WISD Support Services, Dineen Farms, Americase, Amber Huckabee and Pokey O’s Food Truck – Debbie Davis.

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