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Career exploration for middle schoolers

Krystle Wagner • Jun 16, 2016 at 3:00 PM

WEST OLIVE — A shower of sparks flew as a group of middle school students got some hands-on experience with welding on Wednesday.

Throughout the next two weeks, more than 500 students in grades 6-8 will gain insight as they participate in the annual Career Camp at Careerline Tech Center.

Since the center offers courses for high school juniors and seniors during the school year, the camp provides middle school students with the chance to explore the campus and careers, CTC Director David Searles explained.

During the one-week sessions, students have a chance to explore 23 career paths. The classes include engineering, learning how to prepare dinner for family, electricity, making pizza and cosmetology. This year, students can also roll up their sleeves and learn about taking care of animals, and learn about what it takes to design a successful presidential campaign logo.

Carefully, students removed a computer processor in the Computer Tech class. Riley Gainey said she took the class as a way to learn more about the inner workings of computers.

“It’s really cool,” she said.

Flames filled the wood-fired pizza oven as students rolled out dough, added sauce and toppings to make chicken alfredo pizza during the Pizza Pizza Pizza class. Noah Orol said the class taught him pizzas need a lot of sauce to taste good and “cheese makes everything better.” 

Orol said the camp is giving him a chance to explore his interests as possible careers. During the week, he also took classes to learn CPR, welding, caring for animals and learning how to make dinner.

The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” played in the Emergency Medical Services classroom as students practiced performing CPR compressions on training mannequins. Zoie Banger explained she learned that compressions are performed in a way that’s consistent to the beat of the song.

In addition to also taking the cosmetology and commercial-making class, Banger said she wanted to learn more about CPR because she often watches her 3-year-old brother and she wants to be prepared for emergencies.

During camp, Searles said he hopes students learn more about possible future careers and experience the culture at the Careerline Tech Center.

“I want them to get a little information on their interests and walk out of the building happy and feeling like they had a great experience,” he said.

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