A few weeks ago the President of the United States Barak Obama said, “We must bring manufacturing home,” in his State of the Union Address. Mr. President, it is coming home in a way many would find unexpected–through Career and Technical Education classes on the high school level and in our area, at Lord Botetourt High School.
February is CTE month. The classes are held at BTEC, and also at both high schools and both middle schools. “Over the school year, 62 classes are held on the high school level. An additional 35 CTE classes are conducted on the middle school level,” said Lisa Barnett. The number is higher because the middle schools teach in class periods rather than the block schedule. “In the Botetourt School Division, 4,100 students have been impacted by CTE classes this year,” stated Barnett who is the CTE coordinator for Botetourt County Schools.
At LBHS Vic Terry with 15 years of teaching experience, leads a manufacturing class that has a wide range of students and skills. Some have taken the class before and others are in the first semester, but for the following young people it is a reach into the future in so many facets. Cameron Blanton, Cody Bocock, Briana Bonds, Samuel Booth, Benjamin Epperly, Andi Exposito, Cole Groves, Victoria Hunt, Allen Michael Massey, Tanner Melki, Shannon Quinn, Kyle Sumpter, Emma Wall, Victoria Wells, Taylor Williamson, Rachel Wilson, Trevor Wimmer and Ethan Wright, are the students.
Everyone receives safety training and “how to use a ruler” instruction. Most of the design work however is accomplished through a computer program. Senior Ethan Wright plans to attend Emory and Henry. The technical aspect of manufacturing appeals to him.
The design for most of the class is to make jewelry boxes and key holders in an assembly line process. “We work together,” said Cameron Blanton another senior who has already joined the US Marine Corps. He hopes his classroom training will lead him places in the Marine Corps. By learning the manufacturing computer program he has learned how technology walks a student through the process. “I know how to put something into a production line now.”
Rachel Wilson is making a CD rack. She is a 10th grader and she already has her machine certification in the class. “I have learned a great deal in here from as simple as using a ruler to mastering the design on the computer to implementing the design into an assembly line. It isn’t all so easy.” Like matching up the sides and width’s on the design using the computer. Terry stepped in to show her where to go to get everything in alignment on the program.
Taylor Williamson designed a wooden spool like a candlestick. She is taking Horticulture at BTEC and hopes to work in floral design one day. She said, “The spool I designed will be a base for a stand that I will use in a floral display. I really do well in this class, it appeals to me.”
Senior Cody Bocock uses the computer program to wind test the strength of the design. He plans to major in biochemistry in college at Liberty University. He sees Manufacturing is much like a Physics class to hone his skill level.
Terry encourages, cajoles and mostly tries to get everyone up to the same skill level prior to the class beginning to cut and assemble the products. He makes sure everyone is safety certified, learns the computer program and soon they will move on to how to use the machinery.That feat happens by the end of the semester when the assembly line comes to fruition.
On the small scale these young people are learning a skill laced with technology that cannot be measured so much in real time as future time of the manufacturing industry in America. The very reason CTE month is so important!