As high schoolers file off the bus, they walk into a place they never expected to walk back into at their age, an elementary school. Last year the CTE project was introduced to Walton Elementary school as a sort of pilot program. Now, the “field day” will take place at each of the five elementary schools in Prince George County.
Despite the name, this event is exclusively in the technological department. Matt Weston, the creator and orchestrator of the tech day, created it to give young students an opportunity to learn about CTE and design classes before they leave the elementary school so they would have a better understanding of what they were like.
The experience will hopefully help students find an aspect they enjoy in the technology field.
“I think it gives them exposure to it and I think that anytime you can get exposure to something, you can figure out whether or not if you like doing it. My parents made me cut grass. I hate cutting grass and weed-eating. I know I don’t want to go into lawn care, so by doing that task I learned a job that I never wanted to do again. By giving these kids exposure to these different activities (and if we can continue to build it and change what it is that they are doing) then it gives them the opportunity to see what things they like to do in this tech realm,” Weston said.
The program is for fifth graders only. This is because they are the closest to being able to choose what classes they will take at the middle school. The hope is for more students to become interested in CTE learning and take CTE classes available to them at an early age.
“We [came] here to teach them about it and maybe give them some ideas of what they want to take at the high school,” Graphics II student Jessica Taylor said.
With the help of the high school students, the tech field day was a total success. Instead of it being a completely teacher-operated event, students volunteered to help spark a new interest in their greatest admirers. The student to student interaction really makes a difference to both participants.
“It is really fun to see their reactions when you build the stuff with them and it is supper cool when they call you by your name and it is a first name basis type thing,” Brook Lawrence, a senior from the catapult builder station, said. “I think it is really fun to hang out with the kids.”
The advancement of the tech day has brought changes to the lineup of displays and learning opportunities. Some of the activities this year included Ozzobot programming, sphero driving, and maker space projects, along with a 3D printing demonstration. This is to give the younger students a glimpse into what is available for them to work with and hopefully bring an increase of CTE enrolled students.
“A lot more kids will be looking forward towards these classes instead of just seeing them and adding them last minute to their schedules,” Colby Weston, a mecatronics student, said.
The tech day was designed to bring more students into the technological classes and fields. But it also strengthens the knowledge learned by the students running the stations and teaches the new generation so they can surpass us in the future.
“We are giving them a huge advantage of other years that they can learn a lot of different stuff to kind of make their carear path versitile versis not knowing,” Weston said.