Photo by Renee Wiggington
WRV FACS student Madison Koenig shares the portfolio that she created in ECE 1 with US Senator Mike Braun.
White River Valley High School is focused on Career and Technical Education (CTE). We currently have multiple pathways that allow students to gain experience in Advanced Manufacturing, Electrical, Engineering, Machine Technology, Precision Machining and a variety of agricultural courses. In Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), students can choose from two pathways: Culinary and Hospitality and Early Childhood Education. While state and federal government have spent years neglecting these areas, Indiana and the nation are focusing more on vocational training in high schools.
WRV has worked to maintain their programs through budget cuts, retirements and changes in administration. Because of our efforts, United States Senator Mike Braun came to tour our facilities and hear about our CTE programs firsthand.
When Senator Braun came to visit, I got to show him the newly renovated FACS kitchens. I told him how Perkins grants had allowed me to update kitchen equipment in order to provide students with the newest technology. I have applied for the grant each year and have gotten an induction stove, a double oven stove and many other efficient appliances. As part of the kitchen update, I applied for automatic faucets which save water and are more sanitary. Keeping new technology and up-to-date equipment in the classroom is a benefit to all.
Lexi Fulford, Introduction to Culinary and Hospitality student, told the Senator about some of the skills the class had learned and how they applied those skills to sell products to the faculty and staff of WRV, like soups, sandwiches and salads. She also told him about our cafeteria project and how we learned the requirements and designed, prepared and served lunch out of a commercial kitchen. She was excited to share that these courses will help her in her future education and career as she plans to pursue a job in the culinary field.
Madison Koenig, Early Childhood Education student, shared the portfolio that she created in class last year.
Senator Braun looked through it to see the work she had done and the many pictures of her and the elementary students. She talked about the variety of lesson plans she had planned and carried out with WRV elementary students, and explained that she had gotten to be in classrooms from Pre-K through third grade. She also shared that she would be able to use these experiences in the future, as she plans to double major in elementary education and FCS education.
Finally, Christiane Davis, WRV and District 7 FCCLA President, got to tell Senator Braun how FCCLA has impacted her. She told him some of the programs and events offered by FCCLA that help a student to grow as a person and leader. She shared that she has attended the state conference, created projects, competed in events and attended workshops.
Through it all Senator Braun listened intently. He was truly interested in what the students were doing. He stated that the program was good and he did not have anything like that available to him when he was in school. Senator Braun was very encouraging and supportive.
I am so excited for the opportunity for students to share their hard work and passion with a United States Senator.
“The thing that Senator Braun said that really stands out was that schools are way too busy teaching and preparing students for four-year degrees and that industry needs more students with skilled trades and certifications,” said Charles Hancock, WRV Industrial Technology teacher. “He went further by saying that his company hires very few people with degrees, but needs a lot more with manufacturing and trade backgrounds.”
WRV Superintendent Dr. Bob Hacker enjoyed the Senator’s visit as well.
“It was certainly an honor for us to have a United State Senator request to see our CTE programs,” he said. “Our Precision Machining program’s success has been well documented in the region, but it was great for our programs in FACS--Culinary and Early Childhood Education, Advanced Manufacturing, and Agriculture--Drone Science, Aquaponics and Welding to be recognized as well. We are really proud of the work our students and teachers are doing to get our students prepared to be successful in career pathways that have been developed. We are also thankful for the post-secondary partnerships and business partnerships that have been developed in these areas. Our school board continues to support us in building programs that can develop our local talent.”
WRV Principal Doug Lewis added his opinion of the visit.
“It was a fantastic day for everyone at WRV High School,” Lewis said. “Our students, across all of our CTE courses, were given the opportunity to highlight and demonstrate the great activities and real world concepts they are learning. The opportunity for our students to share with a US Senator is a once-in-a-lifetime event and we all appreciate Senator Braun taking the time to meet and interact with our students.”
I am personally excited that Senator Braun took time to look at our CTE programs. I love teaching CTE and am happy that it is getting such positive attention.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner