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Is CTE Education for College-Bound Me?

Many students and parents are confused about Career and Technical Education (CTE) and whether it’s a path they should choose.

Below is an excerpt from the NC Department of Public Instruction Website that explains more about the goals and outcomes of these pathways:

The mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to empower all students to be successful citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy. CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge.

Programs in Career and Technical Education are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively, solve problems, and utilize technology. These tools and experiences make school more relevant, and ensure students are ready for the real world. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, four-year colleges, and universities, receive on-the-job training, or pursue careers in the military, CTE can be the first step in a pathway toward productive employment and citizenship.

CTE Delivers for students:

  • Real options for students for college and rewarding careers
  • CTE programs allow students to explore a range of options for their future – inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Through CTE, students can start their path toward a career that they are passionate about while earning valuable experience, college credits and more.
  • CTE students are more likely to have a post-high school plan – including college – than other students; just 2% of CTE students say they “don’t know” what they will do after high school.

Real-world skills for students

CTE is a unique opportunity for hands-on learning – putting students at the center of the action.

Students in CTE programs and their parents are three times as likely to report they are “very satisfied” with their and their children’s ability to learn real-world skills as part of their current education compared to parents and students not involved in CTE.

Real middle and high school experience with more value for students

CTE programs are a part of middle and high school – students can participate in CTE and the other activities they enjoy, such as sports, the arts, or whatever else their friends are doing.

CTE takes students even further during their high school experience – providing opportunities for specialized classes, internships, and networking with members of the community.

Students in CTE programs and their parents are twice as likely to report they are “very satisfied” with their high school education experience compared to prospective CTE students and their parents.

State CTE Director – Trey Michael

https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/classroom-resources/career-and-technical-education#:~:text=The%20mission%20of%20Career%20and,world%20skills%20and%20practical%20knowledge.

People commonly think that a student should choose EITHER CTE OR college, but it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be both!

For example, students who want to pursue a nursing career are well served by completing CNA training as part of a CTE pathway. Some nursing degree programs (including Mitchell Community College) require it for admission to the RN program.

As another example, students wanting to major in graphic design might consider a CTE pathway that includes learning how to use Adobe software such as Illustrator and Photoshop. Undergraduates have found that when they started a 4-year design program, professors expected that students already knew how to use the software. Students had to learn it on their own (while keeping up with assigned classwork) if they didn’t know how to use it prior to coming to the university campus.

So, explore your options. It might be worth your while to consider a CTE course even if it doesn’t add an extra .5 point to your GPA! It might be well worth it in the long run.


What to Expect as a Rising College Freshman

From walking across a graduation stage to stepping into the world of higher education, the life of a high school graduate can change drastically leading up to the highly-anticipated — and sometimes nerve-wracking — first day of college. To hopefully ease your mind a bit, here are a few tips and tricks to simplify your transition and help you expect the unexpected during your first year.

Prepare to be independent!

As you’ll come to discover, the choice to attend a two or four-year institution comes with great freedom, and as a result, great responsibility. From scheduling, enrolling, and attending classes to making time to work, eat, and sleep, the life of a college student can be a hectic one. Though, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Setting realistic goals, creating to-do lists, planning, and eliminating procrastination are just a few ways to reduce the stress that comes with pursuing any degree or certification. 

To get the most out of college and your newfound independence, you’ll want to walk away with something learned. So, in addition to gaining the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen career path, actively strive to discover something new about yourself. You’ll be better for it.  

Prepare to walk!

No matter the size of your college, you’ll want to anticipate traveling on foot. To prepare your body and mind for this change, consider taking a walking tour of your campus and class schedule before FDOC (the first day of class). Of course, cars and on-campus transportation are available options at some institutions, but be mindful of any parking fees or costs that come with these alternatives. 

Your goal, hopefully, is to enjoy your time in college. With that in mind, familiarizing yourself with your new environment and the physical limits of your body can positively impact your on-campus experience. In other words, if you’re not traveling by car, bus, or metro, you may want to bust out those walking shoes. 

Prepare for FUN!

Now for the best part. After a long week of classes and studying, you’ll want to find ways to relax your mind and enjoy the extracurricular offerings available on campus. If possible at your school, take advantage of student clubs, volunteer opportunities, art programs, athletics, Greek life, or other ways to get outside of your dorm. Participating in university activities can not only bring you lifelong social connections; professional relationships can also be developed by putting yourself out there. So, don’t be afraid to have a good time; it’ll definitely be earned! 

Of course, everyone will experience college differently, and you’re bound to make mistakes. But, with proper preparation, dedication, and an open mind, you’ll grow to learn from your shortcomings and find that freshman year is not what you expected at all. It’s so much better.


Careers in Heart Health

In the past couple of years, we have seen just how important our healthcare workers are. Since it is American Heart Month, we’d like to shed some light on the healthcare careers that work with the heart.

The name for this field specifically is called cardiology. Cardi (without the B) is the Greek word for heart and ology means the study of. For those of you that exercise, you may do some cardio exercises. This means the purpose of doing cardio is to get our hearts pumping.

As we all know, the heart is one of the most important organs in the body. Due to its importance, there is a whole sector of health careers dedicated to helping us keep our hearts healthy and strong. If you are interested in the health field, I would encourage you to look into cardiology as well.

Here is a shortlist of cardiac careers with a Certificate or 2-year degree:

  • EKG Technician – Also known as electrocardiograph technicians, these medical professionals use EKG equipment to monitor blood pressure and heart performance.
  • Cardiovascular Technician – They use electrocardiograms, Holter monitors, blood pressure tests, and stress tests to assess patients’ heart health and identify what is causing their symptoms.
  • Medical Sonographer – Medical sonographers use ultrasonic imaging machines to capture images of various organs and body parts, such as the heart and lungs.

This next set of careers require a bachelor’s degree or higher:

  • Cardiology Consultant – Cardiology consultants collaborate with other health care professionals to develop treatment plans for patients.
  • Cardiac Nurse – A cardiac nurse works alongside other members of a cardiology team to monitor their patients’ progress, answer their questions and keep them comfortable.
  • Cardiology Physician – AKA cardiologist cardiology physician finds, treats, and prevents diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

These are only a few of the careers that work with the heart. If you find any of these careers interesting, continue to do more research on these careers and more. Some of the best colleges for cardiac careers in North Carolina are Duke University, Wake Forest, UNC Chapel Hill, ECU, and NC State.


What Do College Access/Attainment Programs Do?

College access programs offer services that have typically only been available to students attending private schools or to students whose families could afford to hire a private college consultant.

Crosby Scholars, like many other college preparation/access programs across the country, offers similar programming and services found in private preparatory high schools. These programs aim to help public school students have access to the same level of services as students in private schools.

Here is a very short summary of what college access programs (like Crosby Scholars) do, starting roughly from the beginning (middle school) until the end (high school graduation). All of these activities are done in partnership with our local schools, and especially our guidance liaisons at each middle and high school.

College Aspirations. We help students see themselves as potential college students.

Academic Planning for College and Career. We provide information to help students and families make choices about high school programs and class options available. The goal is to have great options at graduation.

Enrichment & Extracurricular. We let students know the importance of having more than a good GPA to get into college and connect them to opportunities to build a great activities resume.

Career Exploration. We offer programs and resources for students to learn about careers, especially new and growing opportunities.

Career Assessments. We offer tools and connect students to free resources to help match a student’s interests and aptitudes to careers.

College Affordability Planning. We offer information to students and parents about the costs of college and ways to make it more affordable. We encourage families to talk about what is affordable and discuss options that are doable for the family.

College and Career Admissions Processes. We offer advising and training on how to apply to all types of college. We also help students with job-seeking skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and where to look for jobs and internships.

Transition from High School to College and Career. We offer assistance throughout the summer after graduation for any questions or issues that may arise. Students may contact us for help with changes in college plans. Crosby Scholars is unique in the fact that we offer need-based grants that are renewable throughout the four years of undergraduate study for those Crosby grads who apply and qualify.

At Crosby Scholars, we prepare students to have great options available to them after high school graduation–based on their individual goals, interests, and talents.

Suzanne wegmiller


3 Tips for Truth in Communication *

There is SO MUCH INFORMATION coming at us these days.  It is hard to know what is accurate, what is “sort of” close to the truth, and what is just plain wrong.

Whether you are passing along the information to friends or co-workers; your reputation as a trusted source of information or a rumor spreader is based upon the “information” that you share.

1.     Is the Source Credible?

One question to ask yourself is: “Have you heard of the source?”  If so; what is their reputation?  Are they a news outlet (newspaper, magazine, television) with a reputation for providing a balanced perspective by presenting both sides of the story?  Who do they use for their source of information?  Who are their experts? 

If the source has a history of leaning too far in one direction or another in their reporting; you can presume that some bias might exist in their version of events.

2.     Be wary of the “game of telephone”

Ever play the game of telephone where a message is whispered in your ear, gets whispered around the circle, and when it gets to the end the message is nowhere close to what you started with?

This can happen with the dissemination of information, too.  The further you are from the original source of information (the author of an article, a person who conducted research, an eye-witness), the more room for interpretation and personal opinion.  Often the person re-counting the information may not be aware that their perspective tainted the accuracy of the facts.

3.  Would you use the information in a research paper for school or work?

In years gone by, we could go to the library, look at the card catalog, and head to a source we felt confident would be fact-based and true.  Some of you may remember those days; finding facts in an encyclopedia, a trusted article in a reputable periodical or newspaper, or going WAY back and looking at records and information on microfiche. 

Today, with so much “information” at our fingertips 24-7, we have to dig a bit deeper to ensure we always seek the truth.  Consider using reputable fact-checking sources, whether or not the information has been used in a professional or academic journal, and whether the information has been referenced by a respected expert.

As Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Now go share the Facts!

*Inspired by Avery Blank, Senior Contributor to Forbes.


Finding the Right College Fit

Did you know that one in three students end up transferring after their first year in college? Do you know why that is? Students often focus on which institution is the right match, but don’t carefully evaluate if the institution is the right fit. Let’s break down the difference between “match” vs. “fit.” When researching colleges, it’s important to know which ones are the correct “match,” meaning do your test scores, extracurriculars, and GPA meet the school’s expectations of students who apply? Finding the right college “fit” is a different story. First decide what you want out of your college experience. Ask yourself some of these questions:

Does this school have my preferred major?

Is a football team important?

Does the school have greek life?

What is the student to professor ratio?

What is the size of the school?

Can I bring my car as a freshman?

Are there a lot of campus activities to get involved in?

Is the location of the school a deal breaker for me?

Is there available financial aid?

Is the student body diverse?

Do I feel safe when walking around on campus?

Is there a strong career center to help me find a job after I graduate?

There is not a one size fits all college. These questions are a good starting point, but there are many other questions you need to ask yourself. Know what is important to you in a college experience and decide whether or not the schools on your target list meet your expectations!


The Gift of Boundaries

The Holidays are here! This is a fun time for most people. What better way to keep the fun for everyone, than discussing boundaries?

What are boundaries?

Think about a fence that surrounds a house. What does the fence represent? The area that belongs to the home owner. The owner will keep their important items inside the fence. Anything outside of the fence has to be allowed in and is not apart of what belongs to the home owner. If the owner decides to go out of the fence then they have to unlock the fence first.

Fences 101 - Antioch on the Move

Makes sense, right? – and no, I’m not here to sell you a fence. Boundaries help us stay true to who we are as individuals. They are rules that we make to stay true to ourselves. We know what we like and are able to do. Boundaries are not to block our view of the world nor keep the world from seeing us.

Sometimes around the holidays, we’re asked to do things that are outside of our “fence” and we automatically say yes. This is crossing your boundary; like going out of your fence without unlocking it. Now, you’ve either jumped it or ran through it. You can sometimes literally feel like this.

If you jumped it, you’ve used a lot of energy. Now you feel drained before you have even started to help. If you went through it, you are literally hurting yourself and you’ve damaged you’re fence. This could feel like being uncomfortable. In either case, you may have given the expectation that you’ll do this every time. Especially, if you have broken your fence; this is now an open place for anyone to come in.

Wooden fence broken plank Royalty Free Vector Image

So, what do we do?

I know that was a lot of “fence” talk, but the point is to take a moment. Going to unlock the fence represents taking time to ask yourself if you can and want to do this. What will you have to give up? How do you feel about doing this? If this takes a large amount of time and energy, do you have time to rest? Normalize, telling someone you need time to think about it. Knowing all the consequences, allows you to feel firm on your answer. Also, “No.” is a complete sentence. It’s okay to say no, politely.

This is the season of giving and for many of us that means time, money, and energy. You should feel good about when, where, and how much you give to others.

I challenge you to do more research on boundaries and start identifying your own!


The Value of Crosby Scholars

The value of Crosby Scholars goes beyond just offering assistance to students and parents for future success after High school. Crosby Scholars values the importance of building effective relationships with the parents of students in the program to ensure that their child is receiving the benefits necessary to thrive. Our values are accountability, respectfulness, service, trustworthiness and supportiveness. Each one is used on a day to day basis in everything we do here at Crosby Scholars. We take pride in knowing that we are making a difference in the students’ lives and they are learning more about themselves and their future endeavors. With the help of our amazing donors and all the many resources received, we are able to continue this program and inspire success together.

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Which program should I choose?

The applications for Early College are about to open. Scheduling high school classes for next year will start in just a few short weeks. Some students and families might be getting anxious about these choices. Crosby Scholars staff members often get asked, “What program should my student be in?” or “Should we go with AP or IB?” As much as we’d like to be able to answer these questions for you, we can’t! These decisions should be based upon what you know about your child.

Here are some things to consider when trying to decide about a high school (or middle school) program:

  • Is your student more mature or less mature than most of his/her peers?
  • How much time after school is your student willing to commit to schoolwork?
  • In how many extracurricular activities will your student participate?
  • How much time/ability do you have to support your student with transportation, homework help, community service requirements, etc?
  • How much flexibility is there to change programs if our choice doesn’t work out?

Colleges look at the courses taken as well as the grades earned.

It is true that sometimes a “B” in a more rigorous course might be more impressive to colleges than an “A” in an easier class. However, a “C” in any class won’t impress the most selective college admissions officers. So, it’s important to have a balance between challenge and support to ensure success.

My best piece of advice is to do your homework. Talk to counselors and principals to learn about what it takes to be successful at their school. Ask questions and read the registration guide for your district. (You will be amazed at how many choices there are!) Involve the student in the process of deciding. If your child ends up somewhere they really don’t want to be, it probably won’t go well.

To help you understand just a little bit about some of the programs you can choose from in Iredell County, I created a chart. This is just a starting point to begin exploring and doesn’t include every choice available! I hope it helps.


Building a Strong Financial Record

As a high school student, conversations around the topic of money are not usually had with friends or family. Why is this? One big reason for this is because our education system in America places little importance on financial literacy in the classroom. Currently, only twenty one states in America require a personal finance course. If parents don’t discuss financial basics with their high school student either, then many are leaving high school without a foundational knowledge about money. This can be detrimental for many.

When I entered college, I didn’t know the difference between a debit card and credit card. I didn’t understand interest. I didn’t know why it was important to have a budget or savings account! Listen folks, my decisions would have looked very different had I known more about money.

In order to set yourself up for financial success in the future, take note of some important advice.

  • Start a saving’s account while you are in high school! Time is a precious commodity. You have the time to start saving money while you are free from having to pay rent or bills. Maybe you babysit or lifeguard in the summer, and although it may not seem like a lot of money, at least it’s something. You will be happy you put that money aside one day.
  • Do comparison shopping. Before opening that savings or checking account, research different banks to see which ones charge the least amount for routine monthly maintenance fees. Most banks charge you a fee for holding your money unless you maintain a certain balance throughout the month.
  • Download a budget app like Mint or YNAB. Learning how to budget now will keep you on track when your financial responsibilities increase later.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have. Once you get your first credit card (you have to wait until you are 18), don’t use your credit card on purchases you won’t be able to pay off. The APR (annual percentage rate) for credit cards is usually VERY high. That means if you don’t pay your balance off in FULL each month, you will start accruing interest on the total balance. It’s simple- don’t spend money you don’t have. Use credit cards to build a good credit score. 
  • Build a good credit score. If you don’t pay the balances off on your credit cards, your credit score will go down. Your credit score is determined by many different factors, but the important thing to remember is this:
    • Some employers do credit checks on potential hires
    • Apartment complexes run a credit check on potential tenants
    • Loan officers run a credit check to see if you are a high risk or not. This could affect whether or not you are approved for a high or low interest school, car, or home loan.

Your credit score will follow you EVERYWHERE!