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Welding students first to dual enroll with CCTC

Posted: September 2, 2011 5:01 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Ashley Lewis Ford/C-I

TRAILBLAZERS -- Lugoff-Elgin High School and ATEC seniors Adam Smith (left) and Kyle Griggs (right) are currently enrolled in a dual enrollment welding course at Central Carolina Technical College. Adam and Kyle said they signed up for the dual enrollment class, which is free to Kershaw County School District students, because they wanted to take full advantage of all opportunities that may help them in the future.

They may be high school seniors, but Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) students Kyle Griggs and Adam Smith are also pioneers.

The two teens, who take an advanced welding class at ATEC, are also students in a dual enrollment welding class at Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC), making them the first students in the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) to receive college credit for a career and technology course through CCTC.

“For a lot of students, college is the fear of the unknown. Many of them don’t know what life after high school will be like, and this is a way for them to see what college is really like, and say, ‘Hey, I can really do this,” said ATEC Director Chet Horton. “It just breaks down some of that mystique and barriers that college is something far off that they can’t do. But, no, they can do it.”

Long before they enrolled in a welding class at ATEC, Kyle and Adam said they both considered welding as a possible career path in the future.

Adam’s father, Joel Smith, is the welding instructor at ATEC.

 “And welding is something my dad did when he was in school, and I just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Kyle said.

Both students said they knew it was important to hone their skills and learn more about the welding industry. When the opportunity to take a dual enrollment class presented itself to them, Kyle and Adam decided to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“I knew that (the dual enrollment class) would help me out a lot in the future, and would give me better opportunities for a higher career,” Kyle said, also noting he has plans to join the Marine Corps after graduating from high school.

“And I want to get an associate’s degree in welding after I graduate. I knew that the (dual enrollment) class would help me to learn skills, so that I won’t be dumbfounded when I got out into the real world,” Adam added.

They are the youngest students in their college class, and Kyle said a lot of expectations have been placed on Adam and him since they began taking the CCTC course. However, with several ATEC classes in welding already under their belt, Adam said they have actually ended up helping some of the other students in their CCTC class.

By becoming the first students to receive CCTC credit for a career and technology course, both Kyle and Adam said they hope other KCSD students will take advantage of the opportunity to further their education in the future as well.

“A lot of people here have been asking questions about what it’s like, and basically how the classes are. They just want to see what college would be like for them,” Kyle said. “I tell them that it’s a pretty interesting class, and if it’s available it would be pretty good for them to get into it.”

Thursday morning, Horton said the fact that these students sought additional coursework in preparation for their future careers can serve as a reminder to the community, parents and students that ATEC serves a “whole range of students.”

 “We certainly fill the need that if a student isn’t going to college they can get a skill to be productive in the workforce, but so many of today’s jobs require training above high school,” he said, adding that post-secondary training is often required for many fields, including health science and graphic communications. “So we just want to break down those walls and stereotypes about what type of students’ career and technology (ATEC) is for. It’s for every student.”

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