NEWLAND — Avery County Schools hosted community leaders last week to show what Avery County High School is doing to prepare students for life after school.

There were two dates for the same event to allow two crowds to see the programs. The first was held on Nov. 19 and the second on Nov. 22.

The event opened and closed in Viking Hall, which has been used for presentations and meals in the past. The culinary program at the high school provided lunch for the attendees.

The culinary program was part of the showcase, putting on display what students were learning about the food service industry.

A presentation about the programs was given by ACS Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ellis Ayers.

“I’m guessing you want your folks to at least have some basic skills. You definitely would like for them to work independently so that you’re not having to work with them all the time, but you also want them to be part of a team,” Ellis said.

The CTE program is broken into clusters by the areas a student may be interested in pursuing. Subjects can range from setting students up to enter a trade or other discipline that will not require a university education to putting them on a path an undergraduate degree that aligns with their career goals, such as computer science, finance or architecture.

Ellis pointed out there are students who want to stay in the area, even though they may become commuters to nearby municipalities like Johnson City and Boone.

“Often times kids only know what they’ve seen,” Ayers said. “Sometimes our kids and our families don’t understand all of the opportunities.”

Ayers noted that some students may want to stay in the county even if they are commuters because they get to avoid the traffic associated with large cities like Charlotte and return to a beautiful place every day.

ACS Finance Officer Jeff Jaynes reviewed the ongoing renovations at the high school which will add state-of-the art classrooms to the facility and remove part of the old structure.

The crowd broke off into two groups. The first, following agriculture teacher DeWayne Krege, looked at the tools students were learning about through disassembly and maintenance and the outdoor landscaping workshop the school has next to its greenhouse.

The second group went with Ayers to view the school’s computer lab and look at the career pathways the school offers for accounting and financial securities before returning to Viking Hall to be served lunch, to converse, and be surveyed. Each table had a surveyor asking questions of the leaders sitting at the tables, ranging from Edward Jones to Baxter Healthcare, Grandfather Mountain and Cannon Memorial Hospital, before Ayers thanked everyone for attending.

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