Hundreds of fourth through eighth grade students attended the Socorro Independent School District’s annual Career Awareness Showcase at Pebble Hills High School to learn about college and career opportunities available to them at SISD high schools, in higher education and in businesses, industries, and agencies.
High school students in Team SISD and employees in the El Paso community gave interactive and engaging presentations for the young students and their parents to show them what fields of study and employment are available in the area.
“It’s a nice event because you can learn a lot and it takes students one step closer to their dreams,” said Col. John O. Ensor Middle School sixth grader Belen Martinez-Vega.
The fifth annual CAS event was an opportunity for the students from elementary and middle schools across the district to get a fun and unique real-world view of what the future holds for them.
“I’m excited for today because I think it’s a real good idea for us to get a chance to picture what we want to do with our lives,” said Emily Castaneda, a sixth grader at Ernesto Serna School.
The day’s activities started with breakfast prepared and served by Pebble Hills High School culinary arts students and a comprehensive presentation on the endorsements, advanced academic academies, early college high schools, and other specialty programs available for students in Team SISD.
“These endless opportunities we have at SISD make our students well rounded,” said Brenda Gonzalez, SISD Career and Technical Education business and industry coordinator. “Not only are they getting college and career ready, but they are literally walking out with skills in hand from a field they’ve expressed interest in.”
SISD provides dual credit courses for students at all high schools in the district as part of advanced academic academies, early college high school programs and other curriculum. The district also provides a highly innovated Career and Technical Education program with 16 career clusters and 42 specialized tracks in which students can earn industry-recognized certifications to immediately join the workforce.
Incoming freshmen students must select an area of study or endorsement to pursue while in high school. The CAS event gives students as young as 10 years old the opportunity to begin thinking about what they want to study in the future.
SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School teacher Lorena Dorantes attended CAS with her eighth-grade students to help them in their pathway decisions.
“At this point, they are trying to figure out as eighth graders what endorsements they are going to go into, which will hopefully lead to them knowing what they are going to pursue in college,” Dorantes said.
She said the CAS event allows students to explore their interests and the opportunities Team SISD provides gives them a head start to a productive future.
“This is a great event showcasing these great opportunities,” she said. “I really believe in these (SISD) programs a great deal.”
Parents agreed the career showcase was a great event for them, too, as it showed them the current education and programs their children can participate in, in order to succeed in the future jobs and careers they are interested in. They also learned about expectations and requirements in the specific programs, such as the CTE courses and advanced academic academies.
“This is something I hope SISD will continue to do because it’s a big help not only for the kids, but for us as parents,” said Maggie Padilla, parent of a Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle eighth grader.
In addition, CAS gives students and parents insight to the SISD high school programs that can give students financial freedom in the future. Many students who earn the certifications in the CTE programs are ready to join the workforce right after high school in various fields, such as medical/healthcare, welding, electrical maintenance and repair, culinary arts, computer maintenance, and cosmetology.
“By the time the students graduate, they’re already certified and with that certification they can work, sometimes before they even have their high school diploma,” said Lydia Carrasco, cosmetology instructor at Montwood High School.
The showcase was held on October 26th.