The Trade Brigade

Shining the Spotlight on CTE Classes


Sarah Johnson

Junior Kelly Tabor sews together fabric for an upcoming fashion design. Tabor has had an interest in fashion since she was young and started designing her own t-shirts in her freshman year. “I really like to wear my own designs,” Tabor said. “So I decided to join fashion design to strengthen my designing skills. The pieces I create for fashion design are usually inspired by my own interests such as movies and songs that I feel a strong connection or appreciation for.”

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

The ability to work with one’s hands is a skill that some might not possess. These skills can manifest in several different ways, and many don’t even know they have them. But in a typical classroom setting, it can be difficult for hands-on students to get a chance to explore that skill.

Leander ISD offers numerous Career and Technical Education Programs (CTE), which are specialized courses students can take to become educated in an area, or study outside of a typical classroom environment. For example, welding in particular takes students into an actual workshop where they are taught how to use equipment such as angle grinders, welding rods and chipping hammers, which are all accompanied with the appropriate safety gear. For junior Alex Trebilco, who is looking to apply at Texas State Technical College, his specialized skill is welding.

“I’ve been learning how to do this since I was a little kid,” Trebilco said. “It’s a skill that can be applied to all sorts of things and this field has plenty of opportunities to choose from. I’m looking to become a pipeline or structural welder. It’s different from other classes because you get to work with your hands and really create something, which is pretty interesting.”

When it comes to junior Thomas Chavez, he believes he’s learned much more from this type of learning environment.

“We get better and better everyday,” Chavez said. “A good weld is about not having a lot of undercut, keeping the same speed, the same angle and the same consistency. Being able to weld vertically used to be really challenging for me, but now it’s some of my best work. One skill I had to learn was how to be calm and have patience.”

Fashion design is another opportunity for students to show their creative side and immerse themselves in an artform. Students get the opportunity to learn crucial skills that will allow them to put their foot in the door of the fashion industry, which is something that wouldn’t be possible for many if they don’t have the experience first. Senior Paris Jankovsky sums it up best, saying that her mind was blown by all the opportunities offered through fashion design. 

“Fashion design inspires me because it can be whatever you believe it to be,” Jankovsky said.  “It can be difficult to realize how much of an impact our clothes have on us and the people around us. Fashion can also be a way for people to see how we are feeling based on the way we dress. The mystery of fashion is unexplainable and that’s why designing fashion is something I enjoy doing.”

Fashion design inspires me because it can be whatever you believe it to be. It can be difficult to realize how much of an impact our clothes have on us and the people around us.

— Paris Jankovsky, 12

Cooking is a life skill in many respects, as learning how to make a good meal is not only helpful for survival but also a handy skill to have as an adult. But culinary is no ordinary kitchen etiquette course, according to junior Grant Clark. For him, culinary is a whole new world of expression, one that can be explored from all of the senses.

“My favorite aspect is seeing the finished product,” Clark said. “Seeing all the work you put into the dish and having it taste great. What makes a good dish is execution, you can have the right ingredients and follow the steps, but if you don’t actually execute the steps correctly then you will mess up and it will never turn out the way you want. I love the class and I enjoy every day that I’m in it.”

Each CTE class is meant to prepare students, not just by sharpening their creative skills, but giving them the opportunity to pursue a different career path. Deciding where a student will choose to go in life is a difficult and ever changing decision. But these programs have helped senior Kate Tabor become more sure of what direction she wants to lead her life.

“I hope to one day be able to make my own pieces in the future,” Tabor said. “This class has helped expand my knowledge on what I’m capable of. There are so many different opportunities, and it’s not just fashion I also learn marketing skills along the way. My best work are some of my design collections that I hope to bring to life one day.”