Lincoln County School District's eighth and ninth graders recently participated in Co-Lin's Pathways Accelerating Careers, or PAC, Conference on the Wesson Campus. The PAC Conference aimed to introduce students to educational programs that are offered at Co-Lin, as well as to get students focused on completing the right courses in high school to them ready for success after high school.
Co-Lin teachers and students spoke and put on demonstrations about college programs and what kind of careers student could expect after completing the courses. Students learned about robotics, medicine, drafting, engineering, automotive services, truck driving, welding, and electronics.
Co-Lin's Dr. Gail Baldwin, Dean of Career, Technical, and Workforce Education, worked closely with Dr. Stacy Adcock, the Transportation and CTE Director at Lincoln County School District, to organize and implement the successful event. "This conference was a huge success. It was the first time that many of our 8th and 9th graders have ever set foot on Co-Lin's campus. Our goal was to give students the opportunity to explore careers in the technical field and make them aware of programs that Co-Lin offers."
Baldwin added, "We are trying to show students that the purpose of education is to get a job. Our instructors were able to show students that there are many opportunities in one- or two-year programs that will prepare students for employment. We planted seeds at this conference, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow and foster career and academic goals for students."
Students from all four of the county's schools attended, with 263 eight graders and 219 ninth graders learning about college offerings.
Brandon McKenzie, a ninth-grader at Bogue Chitto, said, "I learned about nursing, robots, and HVAC. I'd like to go into welding. I am always around my friends at home and they are welders."
Hunter Rushing, a ninth-grader at Enterprise, added, "I'd like to do some engineering with robots. I love building robots and having the challenge."
Baldwin continued, "I think the most important thing students learned today was the connection between the courses they are taking in the secondary system, such as math and science, and how it will apply to them when they come to college. It won't matter which path they take, they will need those fundamental courses to be successful in the future."
Co-Lin's Dr. Robin Parker, assistant dean of career and technical education, said the idea was to make students understand their options and the importance of their education at an early age. "One of the great things about this conference is that we were able getting involved with students at the start of their high school careers. We were able to give them a heads up and help focus them on getting ready for success after high school."
Currently, there are plans to conduct a similar conference at other campuses in the future. Additionally, there are plan to continue providing opportunities for students to experience Co-Lin during their sophomore and junior years of high school.