Hemet brings kids to work

Hemet High School hosted the HUSD 2018 CTE Fair last Wednesday evening

Photos by Corey Evan
First stop, the commons. Students and parents could get information about the many CTE pathways available at last week’s fair.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

Some kids know what they want to be when they grow up from an early age, while others don’t quite know until later. For the latter, Hemet Unified School District offered help last Wednesday, March 7, in the form of its first ever Career Technical Education (CTE) Fair, hosted by Hemet High School, representing all of HUSD 9th through 12th grade sites.
According to Erica Espinoza, HUSD counselor on special assignment, the fair is intended to get kids interested in their futures and to encourage them to explore their options further. “We have the different CTE pathways that are being represented. We have not only their student work being showcased, but we also have post-secondary representation from the different community colleges and industry professionals, which these pathways feed into,” said Espinoza.

The Culinary Arts Department prepares to serve up fun eats, and a way for students to become chefs.

Espinoza didn’t do all of this by herself, however. “Nellie Romero [CTE coordinator for HUSD] and I have been working hard on this event,” she said. “She works in Ed Services with me.” Espinoza calls Romero both her right-hand woman and her friend.
Visitors were invited to plant zucchini, watch as chess pieces were made by 3D printers, admire photography and artwork by the high school students, grab a bite from the culinary arts booth, and even pet goats and rabbits!
Also present were Amazon recruitment, Quinn Automotive, Napa Auto Parts, the U.S. Armed Forces, the Hemet Police Department, and several food vendors among others to offer a taste of the future.
As a statewide program, CTE offers students a chance to gain hands-on experience in those career paths which are of interest to them. Whether you like being behind the camera or in front of it, fixing up your grandma’s little red coupe, or herding cattle and piglets, CTE programs try to offer something for everyone.

They’re not just building bird houses…they’re building their future.

The idea is that the CTE program has identified career fields—which are in high demand either now or in the future—is one more way for employers to find future employees.
“That information is pushed down to us, and we try to have our pathways align with those industries,” according to Espinoza.
Several examples within HUSD include Hemet High School’s automotive shop for the transport industry, as well as their daily bulletin videos and photography programs for art/media/entertainment students. West Valley High School had their marketing and theatre arts departments there as well.
To encourage students visiting the fair to tour all nine programs’ booths, each were given a passport to be stamped at each booth. Once their passport was full, they could turn them in for a raffle ticket and maybe even win a prize. Prizes included gift cards to local businesses, as well as handcrafted goods donated by students in the CTE program.

The Bulldog goes for a ride on this craft engineered by engineering students.

Nereyda Gonzales, director of secondary education for HUSD, hopes the CTE fair helps kids see how fun their future careers could be. “One of the things we definitely want is to get kids excited about all at the amazing opportunities that we have at our high schools,” explained Gonzales. “We have amazing CTE programs at Hemet, at Tahquitz, at West Valley and at Hamilton [High Schools], and we just want to expose our middle school students to them and even our high school kids who don’t know about all of these great programs. We have a lot of very dedicated educators and a lot of great students doing amazing things at our high schools!”
Due to the success of this inaugural CTE Fair, HUSD are already planning next year’s. Keep your eyes glued to the HUSD website for announcements about this and other district events: hemetusd.org

Students can use 3D printing for a world of good. Use the checkmate force, Luke!

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