LAURINBURG — Scotland County business leaders got a chance last week to see how the local school system is preparing students for the workforce.
Laurinburg/Scotland County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Business After Hours at Scotland High School and got a first-hand look at the Career and Technical Education program. The business mixer included food prepared by the student-run Bagpiper restaurant and tours of the program.
Chamber Executive Director Chris English said the business group’s education committee wanted the public to see “the good things going on” with the high school program.
“It will not only help our youth and education system,” English said. “It’s going to help our economy and workforce in the very near future. Scotland High School is producing career and college ready students and young adults. It opens up so many doors for the students. It’s all work and career related. Those that were really experienced something special. They really got to see something special. ”
Faye Cromartie, a CTE teacher at the high school, said the CTE program has changed over the years, growing “by leaps and bounds.”
“We used to be the old vocational ed and that’s how people remember us, but we have completely revamped and we’re completely away from that now,” Cromartie said. “It’s more or less programs of study. A child can start in middle school taking certain classes and you can lay out their whole high school career. They can get two years of college free and transfer to a four year college.”
She added that some parents don’t realize they can save almost $1,600 with the free tuition. Cromartie said her daughter, a 2015 graduate, took courses in the CTE program that were transferred to college.
“We hope a lot of parents will become more aware of what’s going on, that’s why we try to have these events,” she said.
David Knauss, also a CTE teacher at Scotland High, said he appreciated then chamber holding the event at the school because it would help expose businesses in the area of what the program has to offer.
“We’re trying to get the kids ready for the real world, so the more that can get advertised the better,” he said.
Mary Armstrong, also with the CTE program, agreed with Knauss.
“There are a lot of great things going on here as far as kids being trained. We wanted them to have the opportunity to see we’re listening to what is needed in the community and therefore we are providing our kids with opportunities that will take them beyond this place,” she said.
The CTE program includes the restaurant and a car wash and laundromat also run by students
The school’s Culinary Program Director Steven Dribble also liked the exposure.
“On my end of it, it is getting the public to know what we do here at the high school and what we do offer,” he said of the Bagpiper, which is open to the public three days a week. “For our students, it is getting the general public in and letting them show off see (their) skills.”
English said the chamber hopes to hold another event during the next school year.
Business After Hours are generally held once a month.
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.