A few years back Diane Aguilar, Chuck Gremillion and I started working with Debra Haney, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocesan Schools in Galveston-Houston. She had a great big dream to convert a currently closed elementary school into a career and technical high school that gave students the opportunity to pursue career readiness alongside their Catholic faith.
Here are a few quick notes on what the progress looks like from a brief Q&A between C3 and the superintendent.
C3: Superintendent Haney, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can you start by telling us about St. Peter Catholic?
SH: St. Peter Catholic – A Career & Technical High School is for students in Houston! This new technical high school will support career readiness in various career paths along with formation in the Catholic faith. It will be located in the Third Ward, very close to Downtown Houston, The Texas Medical Center, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and the Museum District.
C3: With all the options and opportunities for students in Houston already, what was the vision for St. Peter?
SH: The vision is that students can come to this school and have more future opportunities than ever before! They can earn certificates and find a career path that suits them as they can go directly into the workforce after high school graduation – skilled, educated, and certified if they so choose. St. Peter Catholic will serve as a state-of-the-art educational training facility. The facility will emulate business/industry and college environments. Students will use business and industry-standard technology, software, and equipment while learning in a setting designed to promote personalized, differentiated learning and maximizing student engagement and success. Students will gain interpersonal skills that are critical in the workplace – communication, time management, goal-setting, problem-solving, and team building.
C3: What types of programs will St. Peter offer when it opens?
SH: Curriculum offerings and program areas or job paths will be in four main areas: Architecture & Construction; Business, Marketing, & Finance; Education & Training; and Information Technology Support. Those focusing on Architecture & Construction may find jobs in architecture firms, construction companies, real estate, building inspection companies, cities/state entities, surveying companies, insurance companies, or a myriad of other corporations. Those focusing on Business, Marketing, & Finance will likely end up working in banks, marketing firms, accounting firms, audit companies, corporations with accounting, payroll, marketing departments, small businesses, churches, or schools. Those in the job path or programming for Education & Training can certainly work in our Catholic schools, daycare, any elementary school, hospitals, preschools, Mothers’ Day Out programs, or other places. And those focusing on Information Technology Support will follow career paths in any technology department across a plethora of industries or in companies such as BP, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and the like.
C3: Well since C3 helped with the curriculum along with marketing and fundraising I am pleased to see some emphasis on Construction and Architecture. It is clear that St. Peter is really trying to appeal to a new demographic in the church. Can you tell me about that?
SH: Our goal is to provide a low-cost, Catholic-centered, technical education for students who are looking to develop job-ready skills that will allow them to enter the workforce directly out of high school with an in-demand skill set. St. Peter will provide a high standard of education while focusing on character building and faith formation. St. Peter will produce highly qualified and motivated young adults, ready to engage the world.
C3: Well Superintendent Haney, St. Peter sure sounds like a great addition to our career-ready talent pipeline. What can C3 participants do to further support you as you launch your programming?
SH: As you know Angela, no institution has been more successful than the Catholic school system in leading generations out of poverty to bright, promising, and fulfilling lives. Catholic schools are an important source of strength, hope, and opportunity for our families and their children. For those interested in learning more or supporting either through volunteering or financial assistance we encourage you to reach out at www.stpeterhs.org.
Career readiness from high schools plays a big part in the success of students to launch into careers as they exit the halls of schools and enter our workforce. We appreciate the efforts of programs like St. Peter Catholic and the local ISDs for working to build with us a pipeline of talent.