Mississippi Forestry Commission at CTC with South Side students

The Mississippi Forestry Commission gave the students an oak bubble pipe and Brody Glusenkamp and Jaida Rambus blow bubbles.
Staff Writer

Each year students from South Side Elementary tour the Career and Technology Center at West Point High School to give the students an idea of what type of classes are available in addition to the academic courses offered at West Point High School.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission were on hand to give the students some information on wood products that are made in Mississippi. The program presented was "Wood Magic."
Dan Seale from the Mississippi Forestry Commission showed the students the different properties in Oak wood.

"The Mississippi State University Extension Service through its 4-H division made the visit by the Forestry agents possible," Natalie Ray, 4-H leader and Clay County Agent said. "They are here to talk about the Forestry Industry and the technology behind wood products other than paper."

Patrick Ray, director of the CTC, said the visit during Career Tech Month, gives the elementary school students a chance to see what will be available to them in just a few short years.
"We still fight the Vo-Tech stigma," Ray said. "These aren't classes for kids who aren't able to do well academically. They all have a tech element. You have to be tech savvy and be proficient in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) to do well in most of these classes. We use industrial training equipment."

Ray said the students are usually surprised when they go from high school to East Mississippi Community College and are working on the same type of equipment they were learning on in high school.

"We are using computers," Ray said. "This is hands-on learning. It sticks with them to work with the equipment and not just read a text book. We have a great classroom area here. We're very proud of what the students are learning and most of it can be taken outside the classroom and be used every day."

Ray said the kids have actual work that they do. They take home more than just a test sheet with a grade on it. The students love the classes and enjoy what they do.

"We've come a long way from being a 'Trade School," Ray said. "This isn't the old Vo-Tech program for kids who aren't cut out for college. We give them a taste of real world jobs they may be interested in pursuing."

Ray said the reason for bringing in students from South Side, is they will be in high school soon. It gives them the chance to see what there is in CTC that they are interested in, and to decide what courses they would like to take at CTC.

"We offer Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Engineering and Robotics, Construction and Welding," Ray said. "Culinary Arts, Health and Clinical Science, and more. We get them started on their way to the workforce or EMCC."