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The road less traveled? Students plan for future

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By Miles Smith
Editor/ POST-REGISTER

Baseball legend Yogi Berra is famous for having said “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
While not forks, per se, Lockhart Independent School District is giving its high school students a number of avenues to prepare themselves for the next step, whether it’s college, trade school or going straight into the workforce.
Three high school seniors spoke at the Community Connections Center last week at the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon, sharing their experiences.
Austin Young is participating in Lockhart’s Career and Technical Education Program and is getting hands-on experience working with heavy machinery as an intern with HOLT CAT in Austin.
“Right now, I’m making $11 an hour as an intern, but that should increase to $12.25 at the beginning of this semester,” Young said. “As soon as we graduate, we’re guaranteed a position starting at $17 per hour, but with our experience, we could start between $18-20 per hour.”
Should Young want to continue his schooling, HOLT CAT has a tuition reimbursement program.
“They encourage us to go back to school and get a tech or associate’s degree,” Young noted.
Tori Acord is participating in the certified nursing/emergency medical technician program. She’s completed the CNA program and is working at a local nursing home until she graduates.
“I’m going to start at community college and will finish my degree at the University of Iowa,” said Acord, who plans to get her degree in nursing.
The district also has programs in place for college-bound seniors looking to get an academic head start. AP courses are offered to students looking to earn college credit through an end of year exam. The district also facilitates dual credit courses through Austin Community College and a dual enrollment partnership with the University of Texas in pre-calculus and freshman-level English.
“The partnership with UT is new for us,” said Lockhart High School Principal Luciano Castro. “We’ve had some growing pains, but we’re making adjustments to ensure it’s successful.”
Edith Cortez said she’d benefited from taking AP courses after beginning her studies in Lockhart as an English-as-a-second-language, or ESL, student.
“I chose AP because I needed to feel challenged,” Cortez said. “I took the courses and I improved myself. My courseload this semester includes six AP courses.
“I’m able to write three-page essays now, and do not fear not being able to meet standards. I’ve applied to nine colleges. Two of them are Ivy League, and the rest are top private colleges.
“It’s really given me confidence in myself.”
For information about the CTE, CNA or AP programs, visit lockhartisd.org.

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