Career programs focus of community tour

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 11/14/18

ORANGE PARK – The community was given a peek behind the curtain last week to career and technical programs offered at Orange Park High School.

The Clay County School District’s Career and …

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Career programs focus of community tour

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The community was given a peek behind the curtain last week to career and technical programs offered at Orange Park High School.

The Clay County School District’s Career and Technical Education Department hosted the Nov. 7 tour to showcase what OPHS is doing to prepare students for careers after the high school diploma. Before the tour, Principal Clayton Anderson shared a video about what it means to be a Raider and what the school is doing to ensure each student leaves ready for the working world.

“We feel that if a Raider is responsible, adaptable, invested, dedicated, enthusiastic and respectful, that Raider is going to be successful and I think our business partners could say the same thing about each and every one of their employees,” Anderson said. “If they’re responsible, adaptable, invested, dedicated, enthusiastic and respectful, they’re going to be successful and so is your business.”

While each high school in Clay County offers a number of different career and technical education programs, Orange Park High’s 12 programs are the third largest in the district. Middleburg High has 15 programs and Oakleaf High has 14.

Different groups of people each toured OPHS with a stop at each program classroom. One of the stops took groups to the Automotive Maintenance classroom, or rather, workshop. At this tour stop, only one student was there to speak about the course – Geovanni Cestona.

Cestona, 18, has been in the Automotive Maintenance program since freshman year, with this school year being his last, and already, he has a job in the industry. During a program tour of Vac-Con, a trailer-mounted truck and vacuum company just outside of Green Cove Springs, Cestona handed a business card to a Vac-Con employee. Shortly after, he was asked to come in for an interview and the rest was history.

“I got hired for assembly and now I’ll start working Saturday and Sunday, 4 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Cestona said. “It’s an awesome opportunity that wouldn’t have happened without this [Automotive Maintenance].”

As the tour proceeded, the groups were taken to showcases for Accounting, Carpentry, Culinary Arts, Customer Assistance Technology, Digital Design, Early Childhood Education, Emergency Medical Responding, Engineering, Robotics and Welding Technology. The final stop of the tour was at the Health Science classroom.

Here, Sarah Saz, 17, a senior in the Health Science program, explained how the past four years of her education was leading up to one big moment next April – her Certified Nursing Assistant certification exam. There, everything she has learned for the past four years will be put to the test in both written exam and a practical exam.

“We’ll have the examiners watching over our shoulder as we do everything required of us during the practical exam,” Saz said.

To practice for the exam, Saz and her fellow classmates call the Health Science room home for hours and hours each week. This room, which has been outfitted to feel like an actual hospital room, features multiple highly-engineered mannequins made to simulate real patients, with one mannequin, who the class calls Sim-Man, capable of acting in real-time.

“One moment, he might simulate a stroke, the next a heart attack and we have to act appropriately in each of those situations,” Saz said.

Saz, who’s been in the program since freshman year, has plans beyond nursing – she hopes to one day become a doctor – but is happy that her high school offers her the ability to get a jumpstart on her medical education.

“I don’t think I want to be just a nurse...I want to be a doctor one day…but this program guarantees me a place in the medical field right from the start and gets my foot in the door,” Saz said. “It’s so awesome that [OPHS] offers things like this to its students.”

For now, though, her sights are set on April’s Certified Nursing Assistant exam. What happens next is up to her.

“After getting my CNA, I’ll be climbing up the next step,” Saz said. “I’m just really appreciative that [OPHS] got me this far and I can’t wait for what comes next.”

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