Career Education—A Pathway to Excellence
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Education is the key that unlocks the door to success. It’s the way that a middle class African American male who grew up in a single parent household can earn a law degree from Harvard and become the 44th, and first black, president of the United States of America. It’s the way that a Hispanic female who grew up in the Bronx can earn a Juris Doctorate from Yale and then Continue to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. It’s the way that I plan on accomplishing all of my goals, and one day turning my dreams into the reality that I am fighting on a daily basis.
CEC Middle College of Denver is one of the schools that are dedicated to developing future engineers, teachers, culinary artists, doctors, directors and lawyers. Their mission is to ensure that their students make successful life choices by supporting and guiding them in real world college and career experiences. CEC not only teaches students how to be successful in their academic classes but also helps students get hands-on experience with careers they are interested in; something that no textbook can teach. Over the course of the past three years I have benefited greatly from my participation in career classes, I have Done Something Real at CEC, and I have come to realize how much importance career education holds.
One of the things that attending CEC has helped me to realize is which career paths I am interested in pursuing and which ones are not meant for me. Two career classes I’ve taken that have greatly impacted my life are law careers and culinary arts. Law has perhaps had the greatest impact on my life because I never knew that I wanted to go to law school before I took the class as a freshman. I think it was after the first semester that I realized I was considering going into the field because it was absolutely fascinating. Sophomore year I began participating in Mock Trial and I love doing it, not only because it’s fun and I’m good at it, but also because when I step into that courtroom, I am a lawyer for a few hours. I’ve become a much more informed and productive citizen since I began taking this class. Another class that has helped shape my life is culinary arts. When I was in the culinary arts program, it taught me how to work as a team in a job setting. I learned the proper way to count back money, how to work the cash register, how to life a heavy tray without hurting myself or dropping anything, and most importantly how to work with both bosses and customers. Culinary arts showed me exactly where I didn’t want to be and for that I am grateful I took the class.
Another benefit I have experienced as a result of attending CEC is doing something real. I’ve made real connections, learned real lessons, and by the end of my junior year, I will have earned 18 real college credits. During my sophomore year, I was able to deliver a speech at the Facing History and Ourselves event with two of my peers. I was able to gain experience talking in front of an unfamiliar crowd and during that event I got three offers to intern at three different law firms. I’ve also had the privilege to teach my peers in teaching careers and law careers. I view this as something meaningful because to teach is to master a subject and the more I do it, the more I retain and help others grow at the same time. Recently I was invited to join The Community College of Denver’s (CCD) honor program and the international Pi Theta Kappa honors society for colleges. All of these experiences have truly had positive impressions on me both as a student and a young adult.
My attendance at CEC Middle College of Denver has also brought me to the understanding that there should be more high schools that offer career education programs to their students. Career education is very important because it assists students in figuring out where their strengths lie and how they can use them to have a career they enjoy that supplies them with a good income. Career education is particularly important amongst high school students because it’s important for them to figure out which direction they want to go in before they end up in a job they don’t enjoy or paying to change their major three times. High school students need to know what their options are and need to be able to look past graduation. Career education also conversely can show students exactly what kind of career they do not want to pursue.
Education is the most powerful tool that can be used to change the world. The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow and it’s vital that we receive high quality education. Education opens up doors to possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t have been an option. Choosing to attend CEC Middle College of Denver was one of the best decisions I’ve made in these sixteen years and I will continue to strive to excel in the classroom all the way to graduation. The benefits that CEC has made available to me have immensely helped me with regards to planning for the future and doing what I can now to make the right decisions. My participation in the career classes, the opportunities I have taken to do something real, and learning the importance of career education have all been highly valuable. I am an example of what CEC stands for; my peers and I are all products of what students can do if you provide them with the tools and support they need. CEC has ensured the their students make successful life choices by supporting and guiding them in real world college and career experiences.