Students get preview of 22 career options jTC Technology center offers demonstrations


Scents of cinnamon wafted through the halls of Liberty High School yesterday as Mark Stafford and Dave Felter created pate choux pastry in the school lobby.

"Everyone who tastes them likes them," said Dave, a Liberty senior and a culinary arts student at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center.

The would-be chefs were among several student demonstrators who are helping the Westminster center take its 22 career options on the road to the five county high schools. About 100 students a day will see the demonstrations and displays.

"We know the quality of our product, and we want to show off," said Sharon Chilcoat, guidance counselor at the center.

"Many of the student previewers are still shopping, but they may find something of interest."

At Liberty in Eldersburg, prospective students meandered from one career station to another studying their options.

They sampled cuisine, arranged floral displays, stitched a creative design and learned the latest cosmetology techniques.

For the rest of this week, center students will demonstrate construction, engineering, transportation, health services and business technology.

Ms. Chilcoat matched students, who had responded to a survey based on personal preferences and skills, with corresponding demonstrations.

"We are after more visibility for our programs," Ms. Chilcoat said. "We want students to be aware they have a choice."

L Demonstrators easily answered frequently repeated questions.

"They wanted to know how long it took to learn floral design and how I'll use it," said Heather Brown, a junior in the program.

Heather toured the career center last year with the intention of enrolling in cosmetology.

"I didn't even know what this course was, but when I saw it, I liked it," she said.

Brandy Shepherd, a senior, said the child care course is preparing her for many fields.

"I am learning and getting experience now," she said. "I know what I am getting into, and I like it."

Kelly Hiltner, a junior, studies fashion in the morning and Spanish, algebra and English in the afternoon. She showed off her latest creation, a multipatterned, lined coat. She said she hopes to enroll at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and eventually own a clothing boutique.

"When I buy clothes now, I look at everything," she said. "I know I can make it cheaper."

Like Kelly, students at the Career and Technology Center can complete their academic requirements for graduation and train for a job, too, said Ms. Chilcoat.

"They can have both; it's not either-or," she said. "They can use our programs as a springboard to college or get a head start on their career."

Many students can continue their programs at area community colleges, often starting with credits earned at the center, she said.

The demonstrations, which will be repeated at the other county high schools in the next two months, will help students make career and course selections.

"People have different interests," Ms. Chilcoat said. "We help them find what suits them and then plug them into a career choice."

As the previewers returned to their classrooms, Roland Backhaus, who teaches floral design and landscaping at the center, offered some advice.

"You can flip burgers for minimum wage, or you can acquire a marketable skill and make more money," he said. "Look at these programs."

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