Students share how their Academy experiences have impacted their career choices

Nikitha Seri, Assistant Arts&Style Editor

Choosing a career can be a stressful decision, but many students have been able to find or further their interests through Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes offered in the Academy.

“I took [Teachers for Tomorrow] because I knew I wanted to teach since I was younger, and the class was just so appealing to me,” senior Noelle Riddle, who has taken the class for two years, said.

In this course, students learn about both the history of teaching and different learning styles. They also acquire hands-on experience by observing and teaching students in local elementary and middle schools.

In career-based classes, many students gain skills applicable in everyday life, not just a specific field.

“[Air Force Junior ROTC] teaches [students] about general leadership and communications with a touch of physical fitness,” senior and Cadet Senior Airman Alex Mendoza said.

Units of study include human behavior, the phonetic alphabet and public speaking, all of which are beneficial to civilians and future military personnel alike.

Automotive Technology is another class that incorporates skills that aren’t only useful for a specific job.

“We learn a lot about the maintenance of cars. Recently, we learned how to do an oil change,” senior Alejandro Garcia said. “We [also] learn about general work ethic through the manual labor required [for] the class.”

Though curricula can encompass a wide variety of expertise, these classes allow students to practice career-specific skills. For example, students in Medical Assistant are taught skills necessary for tasks that nurses perform.

“We learn a lot of hands-on skills,” senior Anna DeSena said. “This year, I learned how to draw blood, give injections, give sutures and remove sutures.”

While exploring their passions in class, students are able to enjoy themselves while gaining useful insight into their chosen profession through internships and other career-specific opportunities.

“My experience [in this class] has been amazing,” Riddle said. “The internship time is so valuable, and I really bonded with my teacher mentor and class at Oak Hill Elementary.”

Medical students also have opportunities to volunteer and intern at schools and hospitals, and Automotive Technology students can apply for jobs and internships.

“I went to an elementary school [and performed] vision and hearing testing,” DeSena said.

Academy classes, not limited to those mentioned in this article, have helped students look at the bigger picture of life after high school.

“I am going to do Army ROTC in college, [and I’m] working toward active duty after it,” Mendoza said. “I realized that I wanted to make a career out of the military after speaking with representatives from most of the service branches and learning more about the opportunities that are offered.”

Classes that focus on specific careers have greatly benefited many students whose interests have been furthered by these courses.