Department of Defense Education Activity

DoDEA Career and Technical Education Month

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Career and Technical Education Month, or CTE Month, is a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

DoDEA is deeply committed to supporting Career and Technical Education middle and secondary programs. DoDEA students have the opportunity to enroll in Career Pathways that offer a clear direction for pursuing post-secondary career opportunities.

CTE offers opportunities for ALL students; CTE is for students that want to pursue a college education, enlist in the military or enter directly into the workforce.

CTE Students Spotlight

Amanda Wills, an AFJROTC cadet at Alconbury Middle High School

Amanda Wills in uniform

Amanda is a third-year cadet who just took command of the squadron. While she has always been an outstanding cadet, it has been in the last year and a half that she has taken on leadership roles, including flight sergeant, flight commander, deputy commander and now commander. Additionally, she is the commander of the Kitty Hawk Air Society, the AFJROTC equivalent to NHS. Over the course of her first years in JROTC, Amanda helped the squadron earn the Silver Star Community Services Award placing this unit in the top five percent of all AFJROTC programs worldwide. She is also member of our award-winning drill team and nationally recognized AFJROTC marksmanship team. She is the junior class president and a three-year member of the MUN. This year in MUN she is an Ambassador and was the lead student for a multi-school virtual conference hosted by Alconbury in which she earned high praise from participants and sponsors alike. Amanda is an awesome representative of CTE, not only because of her performance in AFJROTC but also because of her performance outside of AFJROTC.

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Christopher Pardo, an AFJROTC cadet at Alconbury Middle High School

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2021 CTE Pardo

Christopher is a shining example of Air Force Junior ROTC; specifically, its two pillars of leadership and citizenship. He has demonstrated leadership since day one, starting as flight sergeant and working his way up to drill team commander and captain of the marksmanship team as a third-year cadet. Additionally, he is the junior class VP and a member of the NHS and has been a selectee for JLS and Creative Connections. Starting at the end of last year, he was a key contributor to three outstanding virtual programs highlighting the attributes of this unit, including a live virtual awards ceremony, a community-wide virtual 9/11 ceremony and a community-wide virtual Veterans Day event. In the last two years he has accomplished more community service hours-over 200-than any other cadet in our squadron significantly helping the unit earn the Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award for the fourth and fifth time in a row. That award is presented to the top five percent of all AFJROTC programs based on the average community service hours per cadet. Less than 10 units have earned the award five times in a row, putting Christopher's squadron in the top one percent of all of AFJROTC. Additionally, he has been a key member of the varsity marksmanship team, lettering both years and earning "Most Valuable Marksman" this past year. He has also been a top performer with the UK-20021 AFJROTC marksmanship team, helping it qualify (only six teams are selected worldwide) two years in a row for the Air Force Junior ROTC Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. He embodies the Air Force JROTC core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do and is a credit to CTE programs DoDEA-wide.

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Joshua Slack, a Programming and Video Production student at Vicenza Middle School

Joshua has been an outstanding member of the CTE department at Vicenza Middle School and has excelled in Programming and Video Production courses. Joshua has created high quality computer programs using JavaScript and Python, including a multi-level video game incorporating variables and a physics engine. Joshua also regularly assists his peers and guides them in finding solutions to their challenges in the courses.

2021 CTE Kitchen Culinary Team

Robert Meekins, a Culinary Arts student at RAF Alconbury Middle High School

Robert is in the process of completing his second and final year of the culinary arts pathway at AMHS.  Robert is an active culinary arts, robotics, national honors society, and volunteers for multiple school events.  Robert was a leading member of the 2020 culinary team and worked tirelessly to ensure his components to each dish were executed flawlessly.  In Culinary Arts, Robert provides the next level of dedication to the lab as well as the curriculum. 

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Emily Benjamin, an Engineering, Programming and CyberSecurity CTE Student at Wiesbaden High School

When she signed up for the DoDEA Europe STEMposium in November of her sophomore year, Emily had no idea how the events of that week would re-shape her outlook on high school and beyond. Prior to this, Emily had had little experience in STEM beyond her normal classes.  Although initially thinking “STEM” was not really in her future, her time and experiences from STEMposium resulted in a discovered passion. She was encouraged to seek out other STEM opportunities upon returning to her school. Emily quickly found her place as a member of the Robowarriors – The Wiesbaden HS FIRST Robotics team.  In addition, she has competed this year in the CyberPatriots Challenge, placing first in the Gold Division with her team. Emily’s love of STEM means she has also signed up for classes with the intent to finish multiple CTE Pathways prior to graduation including Engineering, Programming and CyberSecurity. While Emily has enjoyed getting to build and program robots, develop her engineering and programming skills, she has noticed from the get-go that there were not many girls interested in these endeavors.  Reflecting on the lack of STEM experiences she had prior to STEMposium and with a desire to encourage other girls, she decided to do something about it. In an effort to encourage other females to be aware of and get involved with STEM from a younger age, Emily worked to co-create a club for elementary girls called STEM4Girls. STEM4Girls has a mission to raise awareness for STEM while also providing young girls the opportunity to hear from positive older female role models. She hopes these early experiences will encourage girls to get involved with classes and clubs starting in Middle School that can lead them into the programs at her high school. She knows this can change pathways as it has for her, inspiring her to look towards earning a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering following high school graduation. Despite COVID, Emily has been determined to carry through with At Home STEM activities! This month is Chemistry month so the girls in the club will be getting kits to make bath bombs and slime while also studying chemical energy, acids and bases.  Future pathways include Geology, Robots, and Space this year, with plans to continue the club into her Senior Year and beyond. Emily has noted that STEM4Girls has also provided a much-needed weekly opportunity for the 5th graders in the club to socialize, in spite of remote learning due to CoVID.  It is Emily’s desire to continue to provide more girls with the opportunities to engage in STEM activities so that they too might see themselves as future STEM students and career professionals, just like she did when at STEMposium. 

Anceline Sanchez, a Culinary I and JROTC CTE Student at Alconbury MHS

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Only a sophomore, Anceline Sanchez has been a star CTE student in two programs during her short high school career. Last year, she enrolled in Culinary I and JROTC I. However, Anceline's foray into Culinary Arts was not her first as she took two years of cooking and baking during middle school. Those two years made her transition into Culinary Arts seamless. Accordingly, course work and lab work were above her peers, so she accepted the challenge of being on the 2020 Culinary Team, proving to be a vital part of the team and instrumental in the execution of the team's dessert. Anceline often provided additional attention and hours of dedication for her team, and often would be the last student to leave the kitchen to ensure the job was done to 110% satisfaction. The result: Anceline and her team finished 2nd-by less than tenths of a point-in the DoDEA-Europe Culinary Championship. Meanwhile, she has also been a huge contributor to our Air Force Junior ROTC program. Last year, she accumulated the second highest number of community service hours-over 50-of all the cadets and was a vital member of the competition drill team. She was also one of two cadets responsible for the end-of-the-year awards ceremony, an outstanding virtual event that highlighted cadet and squadron achievements. For her performance throughout the year, she was recognized as the top first-year cadet. This year, she hasn't missed a beat, serving as squadron l51 sergeant during first semester and leading the 30-command drill team (made up of first-year cadets) to a third-place finish at the European Invitational Drill Meet in December. While Anceline had to make a difficult choice this year between Culinary and JROTC, she is still an awesome example of the quality and dedication of many of our CTE students.

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Kire McCutcheon, an AF JROTC cadet at Alconbury Middle-High School

2021 CTE Kire Kire's journey to Air Force Junior ROTC began when he arrived in the UK three years ago. Not only did he face transitioning to a new country, but he had to overcome cultural differences, both US/UK and community/school. While he was enrolled in Navy JROTC at his old school, he quickly realized that his new school and new JROTC program were going to be very different. However, armed with an infectious smile and innate resiliency, he listened and learned, quickly becoming a valued member of the unit. He participated in every extracurricular-JROTC activity scheduled and started volunteering for leadership roles. Since his freshman year, Kire' has continued to grow as a leader both in and out of JROTC. While in the squadron, he has been a flight commander, squadron superintendent, unarmed drill team commander and finally, squadron commander-the penultimate leadership position in the program. As a cadet and leader, he has directly contributed to the unit earning the Distinguished Unit Award (top 25% of nearly 900 programs) three years in a row and the Silver Star Community Service Award with Excellence (top 5%) also three years in a row. Additionally, he has held student government offices-he was the lead for 2019's Homecoming Week-and participated on varsity sports teams including: football, basketball, track and marksmanship. Kire' took the lead in bringing football back to Alconbury Middle-High School in 2019 after a 3-year absence. He proposed, planned, recruited and then captained the team. Kire' has overcome many obstacles to get to his final semester of high school. While Air Force JROTC has played a role in that journey, Kire' had to make the decision that he wanted more for himself and that in turn benefited the rest of the Action-Oriented corps. We are Photographs fortunate he made that choice.

Michael Brenner, a CTE STEM Student and NTHS President at Kaiserslautern High School 

2021-CTE-BrennerMichael Brenner is a born leader when it comes to STEM. As the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) president, Michael oversees much of the technical and project management oversight that occurs in the club. For the past two years, Michael has been part of what is known as Project Horizon. Project Horizon is a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) project with a focus on placing scientific experiments into near space to which Michael is the lead engineer and mission planner. While COVID 19 social distancing rules threatened the launch date this winter, on 10 January Michael with the help of his brother Charles (freshman at KHS) and parents, were able to complete the HAB mission. Michael managed all of the pre-launch and launch responsibilities to include power and system checks, pod configuration, tracking system functionality and a myriad of other launch actions required to ensure all three pods would arrive safely into near space. www.project-horizon.tech 

Although HABing is very important to Michael, his true passion actually lies in cybersecurity. Michael has been the primary driver behind his Cyberpatriot team success. His understanding of Windows and Linux system security, coupled with his ability to script has allowed himself and his team to compete at the highest levels. His team competed against 357 other AFJROTC teams and finished the season ranked #3, just one position shy of attending the Cyberpatriot National finals. Michael currently has is CompTIA A+ certification and plans to obtain both his CompTIA Security+ and Linux+ certifications later this year.

Have DoDEA CTE story to share? Post on social media during CTE Month and tag #iHEARTDoDEACTE!