February was national Career and Technical Education Month, honoring an academic path that engages some seven million high school students annually (earning an average of 3.6 credits each) in preparing for college and careers. This year, two National Blue Ribbon Schools in New Jersey—Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering and the Morris County School of Technology—celebrated CTE in grand style.
At Middlesex County Academy, junior Roland Fong organized Engineering Week, February 17 – 21 at his school. The week’s activities included a poster contest, a “dress like a professional engineer” day, talks by local professional engineers, and an “Engineering Show and Tell” day, where students were invited to demonstrate any engineering technology that interested them, from robots, a radio-controlled helicopter, a business plan for an academy to teach engineering to elementary level students, and a floppy disk, cherished by its student presenter as the precursor to the CD. “To see students appreciating past and present engineering technologies and taking the initiative to pursue their own engineering endeavors, to me, really encapsulates the spirit of engineering innovation,” Fong said.
Students at Morris County School of Technology also had a dress competition—based on Superheroes, the official CTE month theme. Building Science students made superhero costumes from their tools of trade—hardhats, tool belts, and hammers—while Cosmetology students created caped superheroes from towels and hair clips. Students in Child-Related Careers courses worked with their charges—some 25 pre-schoolers attend Morris County School of Technology daily—to deck them out as superheroes, too. In addition, students held a poster contest, organized a fund-raiser for SkillsUSA, and hosted a visit by US Congressman Leonard Lance, showing him some of their work and discussing their post-graduate plans.