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CTE grants net ‘real-life’ experiences for students seeking career skills

The best way to learn a skill is to practice, and have hands on training, according to Unicoi County High School educators.
At UCHS, students can take classes at the Career and Technical Education center, where they can learn the basics to a trade – such as emergency medical services – which they can later turn into a career.
One of the CTE’s public health teachers, Kim Berry, received a grant to have installed in her classroom a life-size, fully-equipped ambulance model.
“The EMS class that I teach is beneficial for students who want to join the police force, be a fire fighter, or be an emergency medical technician,” Berry said last week.
Brett Adkins, president of the Health Occupation Students of America organization at UCHS, is currently taking Berry’s class.
“I plan to go to college to become a paramedic,” Adkins said. “This class has taught me skills that I will need once I am a paramedic, such as proper radio communication, how to access scenes for safety, how to safely extract patients, and by the end of the course I will be CPR-certified.
“I want to go into the medical field because I like helping people. It makes me happy.”
Adkins and fellow student Ivory Shelton will be competing at the annual HOSA competition in the EMS category later in the school year.
The grant is not only helping students aspiring to find their place in the medical field, but those seeking careers in drafting as well.
The skill to generate construction blueprints has always been difficult to fully understand without constructing a three-dimensional model. Until now, students in Russell Edwards’ computer design classes could only see their designs on paper.
With the CTE’s recent purchase of a 3-D printer for Edwards’ classroom, students are now able to “print” any object they design in the class. The printer, as an instructional aid, helps students visualize and better understand each design they generate.
According to Edwards, his students will be able to print one 3-D object upon the completion of an approved design.
The grant also helped teacher John Lewis purchase a fully-functional car-painting booth for his shop classroom back in April.
“Having the paint booth has definitely helped in the classroom,” Lewis said last week. Within the paint booth, students are able to learn about applying primer, painting and refinishing vehicles.
CTE Director Charles Baxter said that having these tools in classrooms is “more real-life.”
“We are very fortunate and thankful that we were able to purchase these tools through grants,” Baxter said. “The 3-D printer is just amazing. It is a fantastic tool for the drafting department.”
According to Baxter, the Unicoi County School System is one of very few systems statewide that were rewarded with two grants to further its Career and Technical Education program. He welcome parents of UCHS students to attend an open house on October 17, at 6 p.m.
This open house, Baxter indicated, will be a special showcase just for those three departments. For furhter information about the open house, contact Kim Berry at 743-1632.