Return to Headlines

Fifth graders get a jump start on their future

CTE awareness program gives fifth graders a jump start on their future

Elementary school students in Gaston County are getting a jump start on Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Recently, fifth grade students at W.B. Beam Intermediate, W.A. Bess, Sherwood, Belmont Central, and Gaston Virtual Academy participated in a career awareness program sponsored by the Gaston County Schools CTE Department.  The program focused on such areas as health sciences and electrical technology/engineering.  

Students were able to learn how to take temperatures and blood pressure readings, check pulse, and perform CPR properly.  In addition, students learned how to strip wires and join them together with wire nuts to create an electrical circuit in action.

“It is important that our elementary students know about the different types of CTE classes that we offer in middle school and high school,” said career development coordinator Stephanie Luckadoo, who organized the program. “We hope they will find an interest in one of our CTE clusters and eventually earn their credentials.”

CTE provides the knowledge, skills, and confidence that students need to pursue career options, discover an interest in a particular job-related field, and get on a path to professional success, according to Luckadoo.

Belmont Central Elementary student Annelise Sayegh has a dream of becoming a nurse or doctor and was excited about what she learned.

“Learning how to perform CPR and how to take blood pressure readings helped me to understand how things work,” said Sayegh. “The program was amazing, and I felt like I was actually a real nurse.  I am glad that we had this opportunity.”

“Even if students haven’t thought about a career in healthcare, they were excited to learn about it,” explained Luckadoo. “Wearing the white lab coats and pretending to be doctors was a big deal for them.”

Tyler Sanchez of Belmont Central Elementary was excited to share with his mother about what he had learned.  He said, “My mom is a nurse, and I can’t wait to tell her that I learned how to take temperatures and perform CPR.”

In the future, the CTE department hopes to offer more programs to elementary school students in areas like plumbing, auto mechanics, foods, and construction.

Luckadoo said the idea is to get elementary school students thinking about career possibilities so when they get to middle school, they can begin taking CTE courses.  Then, when they move on to high school, they can select a CTE pathway, earn industry-recognized credentials, gain important work skills, and take advantage of all that CTE has to offer.

“CTE can be the first step toward productive employment whether students plan to further their education at a community college, technical school, or four-year university or through on-the-job training,” added Luckadoo.  “It is never too early for students to begin exploring what they might want to do in life.”