Freshmen investigate career pathways

Third annual CTE Summer Camp ends with celebration

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Tiffeny Smith

Freshmen attendees of CTE Summer Camp 2022 pose before leaving on one of their filed trips.

Russell Hill, For The Tribe

Incoming freshmen are asked to select a career pathway in Career and Technical Education that they will follow throughout their high school career.  Morton ISD exposes these freshmen to the different pathways by providing a summer CTE Camp.  This year the camp ran from June 7 through June 30 and was attended by approximately 20 members of the Class of 2026.

The camp is designed to give the students hands-on experience in the different fields offered in Morton as well as visit real-world facilities and meet with experts in those fields.  Morton offers pathways in Agricultural Sciences, Health Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Media and Communication Arts, and Building and Construction Arts.

The camp began with activities in team building and employability skills, both vital skills to acquire before entering the workforce.  During the first week, students earned their certificates in CPR, built bird houses in woodworking, and listened to a presentation by Lubbock-based professional photographer Mark McCall, who is an internationally recognized expert in Adobe Photoshop.  Students also worked in the culinary lab making a variety of treats such as ice cream in a bag.  The first week concluded with a trip to Levelland for lunch at Pizza Hut and a visit to Covenant Hospital Levelland and a short trip to discuss soil conservation on the way back to Morton.

Campers pose with the welding instructor and the campus director at South Plains College Lubbock

The second week of the camp began with a  field trip to Lubbock to visit South Plains College Lubbock Campus.  Here students learned about the various programs offered at this campus including Automotive Tech, Registered Nurse Assistant, Welding, and Culinary.  Following the visit to SPC Lubbock, campers went shopping for materials for the upcoming camp projects.

Later in week two, students were treated to a visit from the State Health Inspectors who talked about safety and sanitation in food service and showed the students a presentation with vivid examples of violations.  Demonstrations were given of proper sanitation procedures.  The students then moved on to working on metal and woodworking projects in the two workshops.

Week two ended with a trip to Portales, New Mexico, and a visit to the KENW Broadcast Center.  Students had the opportunity to work in the control room, in the studio with the green screen, run the studio cameras, and pose at the news desk.  While in Portales, the group visited the Blackwater Draw Museum and Archeological Dig and took a quick side trip to Oasis State Park.

Students view the main control room at KENW in Portales. The station is a PBS station and also produces radio content.

As the camp headed into the final stretch, students were visited by a representative of Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island.  The representative discussed all the various career major options the university has to offer.  The group was also visited by student representatives of the various Student Career Service Organizations: FCCLA, HOSA, and FFA to tell the freshmen about their competitions and service to the community.  Students also learned about the respiratory system and how to remove soiled gloves when working with bodily fluids in the health field.

Representatives from Cochran County Schools Federal Credit Union dropped by to host a Financial Fair.  Students were given a life scenario and went from station to station to make choices about food, entertainment, transportation, and other expenses to try and develop a workable budget.  Nurses came by from University Medical Center and from Hospice to discuss their day-to-day life in nursing, the career opportunities, and the education and experience necessary to become a nurse.  The students found this activity very eye-opening on the responsibilities and expenses of being an adult.  All week the students continued to work on their metal and wood projects in the shops.

Campers pose for the camera outside Texas Tech Meat Sciences Department in Lubbock.

Week three ended with another field trip to Lubbock to visit the Meat Sciences Department at Texas Tech University.  This department has numerous National Championships in Meat Judging to its credit.  Students were given a tour of the meat processing plant and were treated to hamburgers from the Red Raiders Meats Store.  The group then headed over to the Volunteer Center of Lubbock to learn about community service and spent some time preparing cards and meal bags for Lubbock Meals on Wheels.  While in Lubbock the group also shopped at Hobby Lobby and Sams for materials and supplies that would be needed for the final week of camp.

The final week of camp was all about finishing projects and preparing for the final night of camp, the Parent Appreciation Dinner.  Students worked on completing their wood and metal projects and on producing a 13-minute video to show parents what they had been doing for the previous four weeks.  Chef David Molinar from Odess College also dropped by and demonstrated how to decorate cakes and cupcakes.  Students were also busy preparing the meal for Parent Night.

Campers pose with their woodworking projects at the parent night celebration on Thursday.

At Parent Night, students presented their finished products to their families: birdhouses, name plaques, and decorated cupcakes.  The parents were treated to a meal of smoked chicken, macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli, salad, and brownies all prepared by their students.  The CTE Camp Video was premiered and the legacy bench created by students was unveiled.  This bench will have a permanent location at the school.

As camp ended, it was time for the drawing for the Grand Prizes of two Apple watches and an Occulus Virtual Reality game.  During the previous weeks, students had been entered in drawings for daily prizes of speakers and earbuds and weekly prizes of Beats headphones.

Campers Monika Zapata, Blaize Garza and Malorie Villareal show off the new legacy bench created by Summer Camp 2022. The bench will be a legacy for the Class of 2026 and will hold a permanent place of honor on the secondary campus.

This was the third year of the Morton CTE Cummer Camp made possible by a grant from Texas Education Agency.  CTE teachers conducting this year’s camp were Tiffeny Smith (Family and Consumer Sciences and FCCLA sponsor), Christopher Mortensen (Agricultural Sciences and FFA sponsor), Stacy Zapata (Health Sciences and HOSA sponsor), Russell Hill (Media Arts and Quill and Scroll sponsor) and Keith McCain (Building and Construction Arts).