My future waits for me! How can I get there?

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By RENE DAY / Guest Columnist

Every child entering school has hopes and dreams for the future. Shelby County launched an initiative this year that will help each leave high school better prepared for life beyond. Called My Future, it is a systematic approach that prepares graduates for “real-world” transition. There are multiple pathways that lead to dream fulfillment and the school system is offering opportunities to explore them.

February is Career and Technical Education month and these career preparation programs are integral components of My Future. Through them, students are involved in leadership development and student organization events. The knowledge and skills gained in these “real-world” contexts will help make participants “college and career ready” and will prepare them for success in the future workplace.

Throughout the county, high school students are members of Explorer posts sponsored through partnerships with the Boy Scouts and local business and industry members. Explorer posts can be found in law and public service departments, in the health care field, and in the engineering profession.

Calera High School boasts the system’s only Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program. Brian Copes’ students have received numerous awards for their Basic Utility Vehicle and Prosthetic Leg projects. A new hybrid vehicle initiative keeps students like Meghan Ryan involved in experiments that may prove to have lasting effects on the types of energy we use. Meghan splits her time between five Advanced Placement academic courses, soccer, Scholars Bowl and her Career and Technical Education class.

Health sciences students at the School of Technology recently attended the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) state conference and competed with students from all over Alabama.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which Shelby County students are moving towards the future through their Career and Technical Education programs. Next year, students in other high schools will have the same opportunity.

In Shelby County, we believe that one of our responsibilities is to make sure that students leave us ready to achieve their hopes and dreams. My Future is helping to fulfill that goal.

Rene Day is the supervisor of career and technical education at Shelby County Instructional Services Center. Contact her at 682-5254 or