Eighth graders explore future career possibilities at CATS
BY KARISSA MILLER
Eighth grade students at Statesville Middle School were given the opportunity to visit Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Career Academy and Technical School in Troutman on Monday.
Upon arriving, half of the students gathered inside the school’s warehouse, which served as a meeting room, to learn more about the future career pathway possibilities offered at CATS and local internship opportunities. The speakers were CATS Principal Larry Rogers, I-SS Work-Based Learning Coordinator Joanie Winterkamp, and South Iredell High School Career Development Coordinator Greg Stewart.
All of them stressed the importance of thinking ahead and properly planning, particularly in getting a head-start on a future career. Additionally, they talked about clubs, organizations and leadership possibilities.
Meanwhile, the other half of students were given the opportunity to choose two Career Technical Education seminars to attend over the course of 30 minutes.
The seminars were conducted by CATS’ instructors and students in their respective fields. It was an opportunity for students to explore hands-on learning while exposing them to the programs available their 11th grade year. Information was taught in the areas of Automotive, Culinary, Digital Media, EMT, Fire, Health Science/Nursing, Manicuring, Masonry and Welding.
“This allowed us to keep class size small,” said Amy Bice, who is the Career Development Coordinator of Middle School Programs, and designed the field trip. “We had some good dialogue going on. If you put 30 kids in a room it becomes a lecture. We wanted students to talk with students one on one.”
She has been working to bridge the gap between eighth grade and 11th grade by letting students know what career and technical programs are available and what they need to do to attend CATS their 11th or 12th grade year.
Eleventh grade marks the time when a student can apply to attend CATS for half a day of instruction, earning certification and college credits to propel them forward in their career.
Last week, eighth grade students from East Iredell Middle School and Troutman Middle School participated in the career exploration field trip. In February, eight graders from West Iredell and North Iredell are planning to attend. Other schools will have high school students visit their school to explore possibilities.