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Exploring possibilities

Middle school students learn of options in Collins visit

GETAWAY — Students from Lawrence County middle schools are getting a chance to see what options are available for their future.

Collins Career Center is hosting eighth graders this week, giving them a tour of the various fields of study possible at the vocational center. Students from Ironton, St. Joseph and Rock Hill middle schools made the visit on Friday.

“They get to come out a get a taste of what we offer,” Carol Ward, a math teacher at Collins, said. “Not everybody is going to want to go to college and sit in an academic classroom. There are different paths and a lot of options. It’s a big selling point for us.”

Ward said the students are invited back in 10th grade, where they get an option to sign up.

Ward said the school likes to base their teaching on things like labs and cross curriculum learning. She said, as a math teacher, she tries to show how the students can apply what they learn from her to their respective fields of study.

After an orientation in the cafeteria, the students broke into groups, and spent the morning visiting each of the school’s departments, where instructors and Collins students taught them about possible careers.

In the medical lab tech department, they learned what radiologists and medical lab technicians do, and also got a chance to look at samples through a microscope and test blood types.

In the welding department, student Kyle Bryant explained the benefits of an education from the center.

“There’s always going to be plenty of welding work all over the county,” he said.

He also encouraged the girls in the group to consider the field, which some might perceive to be an exclusively male profession.

“You’re going to have an advantage, because there’s such a high demand for women in the workplace,” he said.

In the air conditioning and heating department, in addition to providing ice cream for the group, instructor Wes Menshouse gave a demonstration of a gas furnace and showed how a pilot light works.

The students also made visits to departments including automotive tech, information technology, cosmetology and forensic science.

Following the visits, some of the Rock Hill students shared what caught their attention.

“I like the nursing program,” Amber Thompson said. “It looks interesting.”

“The auto technology,” Mahela Mankins said. “I like that.”

Emily Scott said graphic design appealed to her, while Isaac Stump leaned toward welding

“I liked it best,” Isaac Stump said.

Robert Czewski, an instructor in the electricity department, shared his advice to the students on considering their future.

“Take your time to find out what you like to do, then go after it,” he said.