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Business Partners Treated to Breakfast and Presentation about CTE in Pasadena

The third annual Pasadena Independent School District Career and Technical Education Business Partner Breakfast was held last month at the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School (CTHS) in Houston, Texas.  Business supporters had the opportunity to network with each other and hear updates about the growing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offered there.

Following a brief welcome by Zeek Garcia, CTE Business Partner Liaison for Pasadena ISD, and an invocation by Steve Fleming, CTHS Principal, everyone was invited to serve themselves breakfast from a luxuriant spread prepared by students in the Culinary Arts program of the CTHS Business and Human Services Academy.

Dr. Troy McCarley, Associate Superintendent of projects planning and communication for Pasadena ISD, thanked the Board of Trustees and the many organizations and businesses that support the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offered at the high school through scholarships, training, and internships.  Supporters include the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), the Houston Fire Department, and Marek.  A short video was shown in which some of the students thanked these supporters who had sponsored and mentored them.  Throughout the entire morning, a slideshow played in the background showing students engaged in the various programs and participating in field trips and training opportunities around the region.

Sarah Wrobleski, Executive Director of CTE for Pasadena ISD, presented an update on the CTE programs, emphasizing that they could not be offered to the students without the support of the business supporters.  Wrobleski spoke about the importance of business partners for CTE in an interview for Construction Citizen four years ago, before the CTHS opened.  Her update included the additions of a dental lab, a ship simulator, and two SystemsGo rocket programs in the school district.  She named the many competitions Pasadena ISD students had competed in, including the DECA International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, CA; the World Robotics Championship in Houston, TX; and the ABC National Craft Championships in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  She recognized Israel Picon, a welding student at CTHS, who was sharply dressed in a new grey suit that morning.  Wrobleski said:

Performance Contractors and CMEF made it possible for Israel to go to the National Craft Championships in Florida.  If you know anything about the National Craft Championship, it is my understanding that high school students are not allowed to go to the competition without special permission.  These two groups asked for special permission for Israel to go and we are proud to say Israel competed against full-time welders – people who are welding 40 to 50 hours a week – and Israel brought home a gold medal!”

Next came a presentation by a team of students from the South Houston High School Rocketry Program about the rockets they built this year as part of the SystemsGo program.  The students talked about their “vehicles” which they were preparing to launch at a remote site on May 12.

The morning concluded with a few brief remarks by Zeek Garcia, who offered campus tours for those interested.  Construction Citizen readers may remember reading an interview with Garcia last year when Garcia was a welding instructor at CTHS and was preparing to travel to Florida with one of his students, Michael Noschese, to compete in the ABC National Craft Championships.  Noschese won the Gold Medal in Structural Welding at that competition, just as Israel Picon won the Gold in this year’s competition.

To learn more about how to become a business partner with the innovative team at CTHS who strive to “empower students to successfully transition to the global community through unique educational experiences,” complete the contact form on their website.