Cumberland Times-News

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February 20, 2009

Students find career center options can be a good fit

More of county’s high-schoolers taking training to college

CRESAPTOWN — Sylvie Carder hasn’t decided what to be when she grows up, but she’s starting to narrow her choices.

“Culinary arts, cosmetology or welding,” said Carder, 14, who toured the Center for Career and Technical Education with her mother Wednesday during an open house.

Those are just a few of her options.

For Allegany County students who don’t want to follow a traditional college prep curriculum, there are 17 other possibilities, including graphic communications and computer information technology.

Walking the halls of the 35-year-old Career Center, it doesn’t take long to get the picture: It’s not your father’s Vo-Tech program.

“It’s very different than when I was in school,” said Carder’s mother, Sarah, of Cumberland, who graduated high school almost 20 years ago and remembered that “the kids who did badly went to Vo-Tech.”

“But now it’s great. It’s hands-on. It’s really getting her ready for going into a career.”

School officials offer an annual open house in February, in part, to clear up misconceptions. A few persistently linger.

“Somebody told me that you get a half-degree if you come here,” said Paul Fritz, a senior in the Career Center’s law enforcement program. He’s taking advanced placement literature and anatomy and plans to attend Frostburg State University after graduation.

“That’s just not the case.”

More and more, Career Center students are applying for two- and four-year colleges, said Jenean Fazenbaker, guidance counselor. So far this year, she’s sent about 30 applications.

To get a diploma, Allegany County students have three options: a traditional college prep completer, an advanced tech completer or a career and technology completer. Students can choose more than one, Fazenbaker said, and often, students gain confidence after spending time in a skill area and begin to add college prep courses to their schedules.

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