The more the better: CTE classes prove to be beneficial to students’ futures


Brandon Tolle

Seniors Sara Hoskins and Peyton Weisbeck pose for a photo with their submission for the Bridge Building Contest in the high school engineering room. The contest was held in March 2019.

Lena Ahrens, Social Media Manager

Learning how to cook, doing finances, or learning how to care for a child are typically not life skills on the minds of most teens. But many schools are offering unique electives that are exposing students to these invaluable real-world lessons.

PVHS students are required to take at least a one semester course of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) class. These classes are categorized under Family Consumer Science (FCS), Industrial Technology and Informational Technology.

CTE courses prepare students for high demand careers with a depth of learning that builds real-world skills. Each course is part of a comprehensive program of study so students graduate ready for a job, certification or technical school. For these reasons, PV should require students to take more than just one CTE class in order to graduate. 

Debbie Claussen has been teaching FCS classes at PV for 20 years. She believes the courses are very important and necessary for progressing in life. “Our classes teach nutrition, cooking skills, clothing care, child care, interior design, money management and job skills that can lead to exciting and fulfilling careers,” she stated.

When people get older, they have to know how to cook a meal for themselves, maintain good nutrition, take care of a child and manage their home and other finances. As many high schoolers learn to become more independent, they need the life skills CTE classes teach in order to do well as life goes on. 

In addition to the life skills these CTE classes provide, they can also help students decide what they want to study in the future, or take into a career path. 

“Our classes lead to careers in the culinary field, education, child care, business, fashion merchandising, dietetics, marketing, interior design, social work, and so many more,” Claussen stated. “The careers in Information Technology and Industrial Technology are just as numerous and in very high demand.”

There are students that choose to take extra CTE classes as additional credits in order to graduate, but not all students do. All students should have to take more than one because the more skills they acquire, the more beneficial it will be for them in the future.

Senior Sara Hoskins has completed multiple engineering classes throughout high school and has taken valuable experiences and life lessons from these classes. “Specifically, Principles of Engineering showed me different engineering fields and what they might do in their careers,” she said. “This helped me narrow down what kind of engineer I wanted to be so by the end of junior year I had a good idea of what career I wanted to go into.”

After taking multiple engineering based CTE classes, she has chosen what she wants to study after high school. This fall, Hoskins is going to follow her passion of being a Mechanical Engineer by majoring in engineering at Loras College

Even though the school is not requiring students to take more than one CTE class, students should still prioritize taking these courses because of the benefits they provide. If more students take these courses, more people will have the life skills needed in order to be better prepared for what their futures have to hold.