Lampasas High School’s Career and Technical Education program is off to a great start, with a number of classes filled with eager students, CTE Director Randy Brady said. Last year the school offered 43 classes related to CTE, and this year that has almost doubled to 74 sections available. Thus far, Brady said total class enrollments number 1,332, as many students are taking more than one CTE course -- compared to last year’s total of 834. Brady said the only downside has been scheduling conflicts, as some courses require larger blocks of time and may interrupt a student’s schedule of other academic classes. What is evident, the CTE director added, is student interest. Lampasas High School also is receiving community support in terms of tools, uniforms (like a chef’s outfit or nurse scrubs), computer equipment and more to help the CTE program. In a computer programming course taught by Damon Reed, students “play” a game that helps them learn coding. High school junior Padric Daley said the class explored how to convert binary to hexadecimal to decimal and so forth, which was a fun challenge. The high school likely will field a UIL robotics team this year, based on the response Reed has gotten from students enrolled in his courses. Edward Gold, the LHS automotive and construction teacher, said those attending his classes want to be there, which lends to learning. “They get excited about what we’re doing, and they get hands-on experience,” Gold said. “You can learn theory all day long, but it’s not anything until you actually do it.” Krystal Cervantes said she is enjoying students’ excitement over the possibilities of learning how law enforcement officers conduct investigations, as well as teaching about the justice system and other criminal justice topics. Brady said the massive costs involved in starting these CTE courses already are showing a good return on investment. Because the school gets extra state funding for students enrolled in CTE, that money can go toward building more vocational programs and support the general fund as well. Students do not have to pay to enroll in CTE courses, however Brady said most certification exams require payment. He is working on a means to assist students with the cost of those certification tests but doesn’t yet have a solution.
DEREK MOY | DISPATCH RECORD