When? Feb. 13: tour facilities, eat, watch demos, interact with students

Eight of the most common words Ward Wilbanks hears when people tour Athens High School’s vocational training facilities for the first time are: “Wow. I didn’t know you had all this.”

So last year, Wilbanks, the career and technical education director at AHS, helped organize a CTE Expo. About 100 community members came to tour the facilities, watch demonstrations, interact with students and teachers, and enjoy good eats from culinary arts students. The event was so successful, it’s happening again: The Second Annual Athens High School CTE Expo is Thursday, Feb. 13 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. Visitors should park in the home field parking lot on the northeast corner of Bruce Field and enter at the adjacent courtyard.

Just as was the case last year, multiple programs under the career and technical education umbrella will be represented and interactive. Last year, law enforcement students showed off pepperball guns, tasers and stinger spikes; future health professionals demonstrated CPR; culinary arts students served up excellent food; construction students answered questions standing next to the frame of a “tiny house” in progress; mechanical ag students displayed award-winning trailers and a smoker; HVAC students shared maintenance tips; not to mention robotics, audio/visual, the powder coating bay, demos from floral arrangement students, machining shop tours, and business model software demos. Expect much of the same this year — and more.

At the inaugural event, Raymond Magee attended with his two elementary aged daughters to see what the future at AHS holds for them. By the time they left, one of his girls said she wanted to learn how to weld.

“I think this is amazing,” said Magee after touring. “I’ve been interested for a long time in seeing what the district has to offer and what programs are out there. … I am very impressed with the quality of work I’ve seen as I’ve walked through, and the facilities look top notch. I think these kids are getting a quality education.”

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