Student ambassadors help eighth graders explore CTE pathways

Madison Ritz, Blue M Student Life Editor

Students from both middle schools gathered at Manhattan High Tuesday for Explore CTE Day. This event focused on Career and Technical Education, students from MHS’s different CTE pathways helped eighth grade students from Anthony Middle School and Eisenhower Middle School decide what courses they are able to take. 

“We organized CTE Day for a day for eighth graders [so that they] could come up and see our CTE programs with actual students in the classes,” Career Technical Education Coordinator Chris Holborn said. “So that they could actually see what the students were doing. It was one of the main goals of it.”

AMS and EMS students were bused to MHS to experience a life-like classroom in action.

“The reasoning was pretty simple,” Holborn said. “Enrollments are coming up and many students do not understand or know about CTE pathways, or even courses they have to options to take in high school. The sooner we get them in that is better, and they can do a lot more fun things by senior year, the sooner they start [from this event].”

The middle schoolers attended two different 20-minute sessions of their choice. AMS attended the presentations in the morning, while EMS’s scheduled time was in the afternoon. MHS’s 18 pathways were grouped into 15 session categories, including Digital Media, Finance, Web and Digital Communication, etc. The eighth graders filled out a survey beforehand so that they could be correctly placed into the two sessions based on their interest. 

“We wanted each pathway to have student representatives so that the eighth graders could actually interact with a high school student, instead of an adult,” Holborn said “That worked out really well in most cases.”

Each pathway teacher selected one to two student ambassadors to help with the event, and additional students helped represent pathways programs with presentations and demonstrations. This allowed middle school students to hear a point of view from a past or current student who has taken the class. It gives a more personal viewpoint. 

“Talking to the middle schoolers was kind of fun,” senior Kelsey Coonrod said. “I made activities for the middle schoolers(sic) to do. I did bingo, and we did prizes and stuff.”

Explore CTE Day allowed the students to prepare and explore the areas of their interest, to help choose the classes they’re interested in taking to prepare them for their futures ahead of them. 

“I thought it was awesome,” business teacher Kathy Ricketts, co-chair of the event said. “It was a great opportunity for the students to come up here and see, to promote our pathways and just let them see what different careers are available.”