Two years ago, Rylee I., a Manual senior at Christel House Indianapolis, knew nothing about welding. Reluctant when she started taking the welding course at the high school, she discovered she had the skills and passion for it. Now she’s planning to make welding her career. She’s one of dozens of students taking welding classes at Christel House Indianapolis. For Larry Lynch, Welding and Industrial Maintenance teacher, Rylee is an example of students finding their vocation while in high school. “Kids coming into the program have an enthusiasm,” Lynch says. “They want to learn a trade.” In his six years teaching, he estimates a third of his students have continued into trade careers. He regularly invites representatives from organizations to speak to students about career certifications, apprenticeships, and job opportunities.
Welding is one of several Career and Technical Education courses (CTE) offered at Christel House. (Other courses include design processes, computer science, and business courses.) Lynch is pleased Christel House introduced a Technical Honors Diploma. “The Technical Honors diploma option will open up doors for students,” says Paige Pittman, Principal, Christel House Watanabe High School. “Students will have an honors distinction and can pursue higher education, but they will also have workforce readiness skills that will allow them to immediately enter the career field if they so choose.” Rylee will continue her education following high school graduation. She’s enrolled in a ten-month welding program through Lincoln Tech, a trade school. Lynch is proud of her and all his students. “As long as they come in here with an enthusiasm to learn a trade, I’m going to be here.”