VWSD students, parents learn about options at career academies, RCEC

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Vicksburg Convention Center exhibition hall became a career center Wednesday and Thursday as the Vicksburg Warren School District’s career academies and River City Early College opened their worlds to students and parents.

The school district’s second career academy showcase gave eighth grade students an opportunity to learn about each of the academies at the high schools and the River City Early College. The students will have to make a decision this spring about which academy they want to attend or to apply to River City Early College.

Wednesday afternoon was an opportunity for the parents to get involved in the decision-making, and several visited the showcase along with their children; some of the students visiting that evening were in the lower grades.

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“I think this is awesome that they put this forum together so you can come and see; it’s one thing to read about it, but it’s another thing to come and be hands-on,” said Christy McCoy, a parent who with her daughter Campbell, a seventh-grader, were visiting the booths.

Campbell said she enjoyed the showcase “because there’s a lot of hands-on, because you can do a lot of things.”

The school district offers three career academies each at Vicksburg and Warren Central High schools: Architecture, Construction, Megatronics and Engineering, or ACME, Health and Human Services, or HHS; and Communication, Arts and Business, or CAB.

Each academy featured displays representing the career fields they covered. One CAB booth featured artwork. A display for HHS featured a skeleton and other medical-related items. Hinds Community College also had booths on law enforcement and other careers.

Brian Ellis, a CAB teacher at Vicksburg High School, stood behind a table at a booth featuring Vicksburg High T-shirts and other school related items.

“I started an entrepreneur program,” he said. “We have a store in the school. It’s called ‘The Gator,’ and we’re going to open up in February. My students do all the printing and they will work the store with supervision.”

At Warren Central’s ACME display, junior Nick Tello described how the class used math, physics and history to build model planes as he went over models of the Wright Brothers’ first planes.

“We started off with mathematics for the planes and how they are going to fly, and in our history class, we went through the progression of planes from the first plane to modern times, in our AP physics class, we built model planes.”

He said the showcase “is very helpful for people to decide if this is what they want to do.”

Not far from Tello, another Warren Central ACME booth allowed visitors to operate robots.

At Vicksburg High’s ACME booth, teacher Eunice Polk discussed how students programmed robots to perform tasks. One robot, she said, was programmed to recognize color.

“We do a lot of coding with the program,” she said, pointing to another robot programmed to pick up objects.

The ACME program is similar to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM programs, she said, and described the types of careers the students can prepare for.

“We’re very impressed; it was very informative,” said Suzanne Artman, who with her husband Jeff and son Jonah, a fifth-grader, visited the showcase. The Artmans have a son in the eighth grade who attended the showcase earlier with his class.

“It was good, and kids who spoke on the different academies did very well,” Jeff Artman said.

“I got some information for my daughter who’s going into the ninth grade,” said parent Nikki Beard. “Last year when my stepson went in the ninth grade, we had no information. This makes it easier for me to know what’s going on.”

Beard’s daughter, Skylar, said she planned to go into medicine. She said she enjoyed the showcase.

“I didn’t know what this was until this year, so it really gave me some information I didn’t know about,” she said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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