Crenshaw County Schools celebrates CTE month, statewide success-inspiring Initiatives

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Throughout the month of February, Crenshaw County educators and students observed Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, celebrating the transformative impact and invaluable opportunities provided by various Crenshaw County School CTE programs. Career Tech Director Ashley Catrett, addressing the Crenshaw County Board of Education at the most recent meeting held Feb. 28, discussed how these initiatives extend beyond traditional classrooms, playing a crucial role in molding the future workforce while providing a way for students to learn about and navigate diverse career paths.

“This is a time to focus on what we do at Career Academy and in all our CTE programs across the county,” Catrett said. “We aim to prepare students for life beyond high school, whether entering the workforce directly or pursuing higher education, be it a two-year or four-year university, to achieve their goals and passions.”

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) are integral components of CTE instructional programs, offering students opportunities to showcase their learning experiences through competitions, leadership skills, scholarships and networking. During the February Crenshaw County Board of Education regular meeting, the value of CTE was expressed via a board proclamation, designating February 2024 as Career and Technical Education Month.

Currently, the competitive season for CTSOs is in full swing, with several organizations recently competing at the state level and others set to compete soon. Highland Home Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) participated in the state conference March 5 in Birmingham, with 14 students qualifying for the April nationals in St. Louis. Highland Home School (HHS) senior Anna Kate Foster and her teammates Savannah Edgar, Christopher Thomson and Lorianna Majors secured second place in the Knowledge Bowl. Foster expressed her excitement and pride for the upcoming nationals.

“Although we were not first, we are going home with a new plan of work and are ready to defend the national title,” Foster said. “I am so proud of how far this team has come and how close we have grown. I love this team, I love JAG and I can’t wait for nationals in St. Louis.”

Other HHS accolades in the JAG state competition included a third place win for students Madeline Jane Crowe, Ashlan Thomson, Addison Hussey and Tyler Holcombe with their LOVE project. William West, Isaiah Romero and Ray Henderson brought home a third place win in the Business Plan category while Sarah Bunch secured third place in the Outstanding Chapter/Yearbook competition. 

Four students earned the prestigious opportunity to participate in the upcoming HOSA International Conference in Houston this summer.Regan Burrage claimed the coveted 1st Place and the title of State Champ in Interviewing Skills, while Jasmine Chavers secured 2nd Place in the same category. Taylor Hermeling showcased her expertise by earning 2nd Place in Healthy Living, and Avery Williams clinched 3rd Place in Medical Reading. Additionally, Kendal Nichols achieved recognition for her top 6 placement in the Family Medicine Physician category, while Olidia Barrera and Ariana Purdy excelled in CERT Skills, securing a spot in the Top 6. Aleciya Kite and Trinidee Motes earned Top 6 honors for their Health Career Display, Samantha White shone in Job Seeking Skills and Marleigh Burkett and Madeline Jane Crowe excelled in the Healthcare Issues Exam, all securing Top 6 positions. Taylor Hermeling, Samantha White, Marleigh Burkett, Bailey Kelley, and Avery Williams were honored with the Barbara James Service Award. Teacher Tabitha Gary RN, BSN also received Course of Study Committee Recognition, further highlighting the exceptional achievements of our HOSA students and their dedicated instructor. 

Three DECA students (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America), earned tickets to the DECA national conference in Anaheim and although most state Future Farmers of America (FFA) competitions will occur after the April 4 district competition, the state land judging competition March 1 saw the Brantley Land Judging team securing second place.

Throughout CTE month, interested seniors from Brantley School toured Troy University, while 10th and 11th grade students from Luverne School explored Arista Aviation. These students will have the opportunity to engage in aviation mechanics dual enrollment next Fall with ESCC. Additionally, HHS juniors attended Alabama Air National Guard Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Day, gaining hands-on learning experiences and insights from a short film on the Tuskegee Airmen.

As Crenshaw County continues to invest in the future of its students through CTE, the impact resonates not only in classrooms but also in broader horizons, providing students with the tools they need for success in an ever-evolving world and creating career-ready individuals that will positively impact the economy.