#SuperSchoolShoutout: CTE Month!

#SuperSchoolShoutout: CTE Month!
Posted on 02/13/2024

For CTE Month we’re showing our CPSD pride by giving a #SuperSchoolShoutout to Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers and students!

Join us in celebrating educators Lee Mendenhall and Eric Farlow from Thomas Middle School and Robin Harrell from Lakes High School!

Lee and Eric are the dynamic CTE duo at Thomas. “It’s awesome to work with Eric," Lee said. "I think our teaching styles blend well together because Eric’s strength is hands-on learning while I work through concepts with the class before the kids work on their own.”

Lee teaches yearbook, computer science, robotics and digital communications. Eric teaches STEM technology, design technology, robotics and sixth grade applied technology. “CTE gives students a chance to work with their hands and build something tangible,” Eric said. “It’s great for kids who might struggle in traditional classes but have other interests and strengths.” 

CTE students learn new skills, explore career opportunities and discover alternative education pathways. “Knowing how to problem solve and use technology in new ways will help kids in the future no matter what path they take,” Lee said. 

At Lakes, Robin teaches independent living, project management with ASB leadership and careers in education for future teachers. “I’ve taught many students who went through the careers in education program that now teach alongside me here at Lakes,” Robin said. “I just love it.”

In independent living, Robin prepares students for their future. “These courses are for all students because everyone will have to manage their own finances, cook for themselves and take care of their health,” she said. 

To Robin, CTE courses help students learn to lead, become working professionals and take control of their future. “We partner with colleges like Pierce where students can leave my program, work for the childcare center and get a full tuition if they want a degree in education,” she said. 

#SuperSchoolShoutout: CTE Teachers

Next, we'd like to shoutout Thomas Middle School eighth grader Nai Paolo and Lakes High School junior Jaelle Shamsid-Deen!

Nai joined the robotics CTE course at Thomas because of his love for math and science. He wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. “Programming interested me because you have to problem solve,” he said. “I knew I’d like the class, but I ended up liking it way more than I thought I would.”

Classes like robotics used to be rare when coding was viewed as a niche skill, but today, this CTE class is becoming a student favorite. “It’s been great to learn how to use computers to code,” Nai said. “I hope other kids take the class because it’s really fun and so underrated.” 

Nai has always wanted to pursue a professional football career but is now keeping his mind open to engineering and other science related fields. “Pursuing coding in the future is now a major possibility for me,” he said. 

#SuperSchoolShoutout: CTE Students

Jaelle is currently enrolled in ASB and has previously taken photography and intro to engineering CTE courses. “I’m the junior class senator and I help organize events,” she said. “I recently organized the school lip-dub and that was such a fun project.”

Organizing the lip-dub was a big lift. Jaelle had to find school appropriate music, coordinate the video, and connect with different teams and clubs with the support of her fellow ASB members. “I’m really proud of it, it turned out better than I had hoped,” she said.

Jaelle values the leadership, photography and engineering skills she was able to develop through CTE and how they've shaped her future. She is now confident that she will pursue mechanical engineering while also developing a community-based organization in the future.

Check out the 2023 Lakes High School Lip Dub: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkrFuzIAJJo

Go CTE teachers!