At CEC, our motto is Do Something Real, and each day students live this through attending Career and Technical Education (CTE) or for short “career” classes. These courses give them the opportunity to experience working in the real world by gaining the skills they need in the professions that interest them.
February was CTE Month and CEC Middle College of Denver, celebrated by encouraging students to write about what makes their CTE education “real” to them. We had handfuls of great essays, but in the end, we chose five winners.
Over the next two weeks, we will share with you the essays we felt most closely captured the essence of what we do at CEC.
Meet our first essay winner, Eric Green, a freshman in the business and medical career classes.
CEC Offers Relevant Career Classes
When I was first assigned to business class, I was far from thrilled. I was pretty closed-minded as far as career classes go because all I wanted to take was the video game design class. I was not ecstatic about taking a business class. Little did I know that one 70-minute class would have such an effect on me. Mr. Alavarez makes the class fun and interesting, bringing in guest speakers and taking us on field trips. We learn valuable things about the world that teens are thrust into that most high schools do not teach. This class has also shown me exactly why there are so many career class options at CEC.
I walked into business class the first day thinking, “This class is a waste of my time; I don’t want to pursue a business career.” For the first four or five weeks, class was really boring because all we were doing was keyboarding, but even then, Mr. Alvarez made class fun by cracking jokes with students and allowing us to listen to music on our phones. About six weeks into the school year, Mr. Alaverez started bringing Junior Achievement speakers in to teach us about money, and class started to get really interesting. We learned about the importance of budgets at Finance Park by Junior Achievement where we “paid bills” with a given salary and then looked at how much money we had left over after paying the “bills.” Our final project for the semester was a mock job interview. We had to submit a job application, write a resume, and then come to school dressed professionally for our interview.
Second semester business class students are exploring the wonders of entrepreneurship by creating our own company. Every activity in Mr. Alvarez’s class is created to be educational, while also being fun.
Another thing that I think is awesome about business class is that we learn things that most schools don’t teach their students. Most teens are thrown into the world with no knowledge of how to fill out a tax form or how to write a resume, but any student in Mr. Alavarez’s class could tell you how to write a resume and how to create a budget. That just cannot be found in other schools. Knowing how to manage money is critical when students are just starting to live on their own. Making minimum wage means having to stretch out every dollar to the very last penny and knowing how to make a budget and learning ways to beat the system to make life that much easier.
Business class has also demonstrated to me exactly why the staff at CEC encourages students to take as many career classes as they can. As I stated before, I came to CEC interested solely in Ms. Mo’s gaming class and nothing else. I had no idea that this business class would change my way of thinking as much as it has. My original plan for after I graduate high school was to get a degree in computer programming and then try to get a career making video games. My current plan is to get a degree in either marketing or economy and then start my own business. Before I make a decision about my life, I think about how it is going to help me get ahead in the future so I can make the most money I can. If I hadn’t been enrolled in my business class, I would still be a closed-minded, unambitious child who didn’t care about how I was going to afford all the things I wanted. The diversity of career classes is supposed to show students that maybe the career they might think they want may not be what they really want. If that’s the case, then it helps students choose a career path that is best for them.
It amazes me now that I think about it, how much business class has affected me. The fact that Mr. Alvarez always keeps his students in mind when making a lesson and trying to make class as fun and interesting as possible, allows us to learn things that will definitely help us once we are out of high school. This shows exactly why the teachers encourage us to try many different career classes that are relevant to real life. Business class is an incredible learning experience and a prime example of why CEC is such a unique and great school. For being so new to teaching, Mr. Alvarez sure does one heck of a job.