Education

Education

U.S. Rep. John Carter will honor 10 Central Texas students for their accomplishments in career and technical education Saturday.

Local winners of the 2019 Outstanding Students in CTE Award include Belton High School students Matthew Pehl and Adrianna Schlaefer, Temple High School students Jinju Schmitz and Hanea Vazquez, and Holland High School student Clara Ann Steglich.

The awards ceremony for these and five other students will be held at 10 a.m. at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

Belton and Temple high schools were the only campuses to have more than one winner among this year’s honorees. Carter said in a news release that he is proud to recognize these 10 students.

“These students are shining examples within their respective (career and technical education) programs,” Carter said. “The winners come from a variety of programs ranging from automotive to medical tech to graphic design.”

Vasquez, a 18-year-old senior at Temple High School, said it’s nice to be recognized for her efforts in her in emergency medical technician classes. Vasquez also studied law enforcement and forensics at Temple High.

“The representative … has been doing a lot of work with CTE and trying to improve that in the schools,” Vasquez said. “So every year he’s been choosing a few students to recognize for these classes. … It’s really nice to see all this hard work paying off.”

Vasquez was nominated by teacher Heather Bankhead. Bankhead said that there has been an increase in recognition opportunities for students in career and technical programs.

“Because it is a different area, (CTE students) need to be recognized in a different way,” Bankhead said. “In CTE … achievements aren’t measured simply by grades — it’s by the skills that they gain, the hours that they put in.”

After high school, Vasquez is thinking about going on to paramedic school. Bankhead said that typically people interested in the field get their EMT certification after high school, work for a few years and then go back to train as a paramedic. Vasquez can get certified right out of high school and continue straight on with her education.

“It’s basically speeding her up a year,” Bankhead said.

Carter has been offering this award to students in the 31st Congressional District for three years now. This year, 36 students were nominated — the most in the young program’s history.

“Central Texas is a leader in career and technical education programs that open doors for students, and I look forward to celebrating these students’ success at the award ceremony this weekend,” Carter said.

The other CTE award winners are Kevin Green of Harker Heights High School, Breanne Bailey of Florence High School, Kristen Cratty of Georgetown High School, Mary Iliukevich of Round Rock High School, and Erin Arias of Leander High School.