By Mary Spicer
Manning the front desk, health occupations seniors Rachael Geiger from Cochranton High School and Cheyenne Little from Maplewood High School greeted visitors to the afternoon session of Crawford County Career & Technical Center’s annual open house.
During their first hour and a half on duty Tuesday afternoon, the colleagues-in-training described the flow of traffic as “steady,” noting that early visitors tended to be relatives coming in to see where their sons and daughters — or grandsons or granddaughters — are spending approximately half of each and every school day.
Other adults were scouting on their own behalf — checking out the 12-month practical nursing program, a wide assortment of adult evening programs, nearly 300 instructor-facilitated on-line courses and regularly-scheduled GED (General Educational Development) testing.
During the evening hours, a popular student soup and chili cook-off in the cafeteria was only one of the main attractions.
Representatives from Precision Manufacturing Institute and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania were also on hand to promote “Success Starts Here,” a new technical education pathway that starts at CCCTC, moves to advanced training at PMI and culminates with an associate’s degree in applied science from Edinboro.
In the school’s Computer and Information Sciences lab, instructor Michele Hunter makes sure that her students get lots of hands-on experience while graduating with the kind of certification that ordinarily might take a 14-week college course to attain.
MASH junior Weston Strosser, for example, has been taking things apart and putting them back together again since he was about 3. From his earliest interest in taking apart the family vacuum — an activity he stresses that his mother would definitely have frowned upon — Strosser advanced an interest in computers and technology. “I thought this would be a course that would be a challenge to me,” he said.
Now in his second year in the program, it’s offered just the kind of challenge he hoped for. “I’ve learned a lot about the computer itself — how to put them together — and take them apart,” Strosser explained. “I’ve also learned how to work on software within the computer. Right now we’re working on networking.”
Strosser’s long-term plans include going to college for some type of degree in the computer field and then picking up a job working for himself in some type of computer repair. He’s now focusing on Allegheny College as his next academic stop.
As for the background he’s getting at CCCTC, Strosser sees it as a win-win situation, getting him started in what he sees as the right direction while giving him an opportunity to finish high school with professional certifications already in place. “It really puts a sparkle on your badge,” he said of the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications.
For more information on academic programs offered at Crawford County Career and Technical Center, visit crawfordctc.org.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.