CTE Seniors Earn Honor Cords

Killeen ISD CTE seniors earn honor cords
By: Todd Martin

They step into a non-traditional style of education and come out more prepared and satisfied than they ever imagined.
Before these students collected their high school diplomas, about 399 Killeen ISD seniors earned 683 industry certifications in their chosen career fields.
About 327 of those soon-to-graduate seniors stepped across a stage Wednesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to receive honor cords representing dozens of Career and Technical Education programs.
Reagan Quinn, a Harker Heights High School senior who earned a certified teacher’s aide certification, congratulated her peers and praised the unique experience of CTE education.
“It allowed us to see where our future might lead,” she said prior to the start of the ceremony.
“At the Career Center, we were given a hands-on experience where we could see the path we might want to follow.”
As a highly involved high school student, Quinn said she was not at all sure she wanted to leave the traditional high school, even for part of the day, but she’s very glad she did.
“I was iffy at first,” she said. “I didn’t want to miss lunch with my friends. The benefits were more than I could have imagined. The Career Center takes learning to the experience level.”
In the Education and Training program, Quinn spent much of the day at an elementary school working alongside Killeen ISD teachers, even designing and implementing lessons.
“It’s like starting your career in high school,” she said. “It was my favorite part of the day.”
She praised teachers for helping students to find their true passions and pointed out that students found success even as they “hit every bump in the road,” referencing the challenges of virus mitigation and virtual learning.
Praising the certifying students, a group representing all KISD high schools, Career Center Principal Russell Porterfield said the hard-working group was finishing high school with more than career skills.
“You are prepared and competitive,” he said. “You have the career skills, and you have the virtues to be successful.”
Chief College, Career and Military Readiness Officer Nancy Patterson emphasized the multiple accomplishments of the certifying students.
She said the group of CTE students included top 10 graduates, a class salutatorian and accomplished athletes and musicians. “You have worked beyond the requirements of high school.”