Lafayette Parish Students Earn Career and Technical Education

Recently, the Lafayette Parish School System celebrated the achievements of their students earning certifications or collegiate technical education diplomas through the system’s partnership with South Louisiana Community College while also looking ahead to the upcoming school year’s tenacious mission, as per this feature article from the Acadiana Advocate.

For years, the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center has served LPSS public high school students as an extension of their base school where they are allowed to attend the Career Center for three hours per day taking technical and career classes in automotive, cosmetology, culinary, medical, industrial technology, and welding programs.

Recently, a recognition ceremony celebrated over a dozen 2022 students from the school’s automotive, welding, and culinary programs earning certifications or collegiate technical diplomas through South Louisiana Community College, but the event was also indicative of an ongoing aim to infuse both pride and prestige along with the skills-based, technical curriculum

During the 2021-2022 school year, approximately 400 students had traveled to the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center from their base schools in order to spend a portion of their school day learning from and participating in one of the 11 career and technical programs available at the school.

These programs offer students a tremendous “leg up” in seeking a post-secondary education or job; for instance, those students who choose to begin the automotive, culinary, or welding programs as high school sophomores will have the opportunity to earn a Technical Diploma from SLCC upon graduating high school, thus putting them well on their way towards earning an associate’s degree.

The 2022 Recognition Ceremony and signing event both celebrated students’ success in their individual programs while also recognizing their feats as they signed on with future employers from the Lafayette area. Of those employers were: Abendroth Paint and Body, Acadiana Mazda, Arceneaux Ford, AutoZone, Peck’s Precision Lawn Care, Ross Tire and Service, Rotolo’s Pizzeria in Carencro, Service Auto Air, Sicily’s Pizza, Star’s Bake Shop, Super 1 Deli, Theriot Fabrication & Welding Custom Boats, Top Cars Collision Center, Utility and Industrial Supply, and Veronica’s Cafe.

Not only did the event celebrate these students’ hard work they’ve put in toward their futures, but the celebration also recognized the students of the year in each program as well as students graduating from SLCC with a technical diploma that’s based on dual enrollment credits that they’ve earned at the Career Center.

LPSS Superintendent Irma Trosclair addressed the honored students by saying, “we are so excited to celebrate these skilled and talented students and acknowledge their accomplishments. It is our goal to highlight the importance of career and technical education. The skills and credentials students are gaining at the Career Center are important to the students and are also important to the Lafayette community. LPSS will continue to promote career and technical education to graduate workforce ready young men and women.”

Principal of the W.D. and Mary Baker Smith Career Center Dr. Holly Boffy, who also serves on the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, was also present in highlighting the importance of these programs in light of the broader community falsely believing that skills and trade-based jobs are “less than.”

Dr. Boffy disproved the stigma by saying, “It doesn’t feel less when I’m in Louisiana in the middle of the summer and my A/C is not working. All of a sudden HVAC is the most important industry on the planet. I think where we’ve failed as a society is to recognize that all people have gifts, and we fail to give people pathways to use their gifts. That’s what we’re doing here — we’re giving people pathways to careers that are going to help run our community.”

Recently, Principal Boffy guested on Discover Lafayette’s podcast where she both shared “ the school’s mission and new programming being offered in the upcoming 2022-23 school year, such as the implementation of a new HVAC program along with electrical programs. Students and parents interested in Fall 2022 enrollment can visit this LPSS resource for more information.

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