Recently, we held two Community Open House events to give people a chance to view our new and renovated facilities for Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs. At the Land Lab, which is the working farm used as part of the agricultural program, guests saw students doing what they love. Two students were in the garden, running the tiller, and making sure the rows of lettuce, kale, blueberries and strawberries were weed free. Another student was on the tractor, mowing the grass in the pastures. Several more students were stationed throughout the farm with different animals--rabbits, chickens, cows, goats, and Hee Haw Henry the donkey.
A week later we opened our doors to the Career Building and JROTC Fieldhouse at Smithfield High School. Welding students demonstrated different types of welding and displayed their creations throughout the welding lab. Guests visited the nursing lab which simulates a actual medical facility with beds and instruments used in the care of patients. JROTC showed off their new fieldhouse, funded by a donation from Smithfield Foods. Engineering students demonstrated their wind turbine project which won the regional KidWind competition and is heading to nationals in Houston on Monday. Manufacturing students walked visitors through the Makerspace and highlighted the various machines in the lab, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. They also explained the process they were using to create beautiful cheese boards for Culinary Arts. Speaking of Culinary Arts, our guests were treated to delicious refreshments prepared by the Culinary Arts students in Turner and 10, the on-site, student-run restaurant that is a working lab for the program.
At both events, we heard the same comments: This is amazing! I didn't know this even existed. These are wonderful programs. I'm so glad the students have an opportunity to take these classes. Welders make good money. The food is incredible. My child wants to be in this program when he gets to high school. What a great use of taxpayer's dollars. I am so impressed!
Thank you to those who came out to one of our open houses. We are hoping to make this an annual event as a way to let the community to see our facilities and the work of our students.