New Building, New Opportunities
November 26, 2021
Open to the district’s juniors and seniors, CTEC is located in Lenexa and offers classes and activities that neither high school building could offer on its own. CTEC Director Dr. Cindy Swartz believes the building provides students with more opportunities that will help them in their futures. Swartz recommends CTEC to students who are looking into STEM careers.
“It’s going to be very rewarding to come out to a facility that has a program and has classes that are definitely aligned to [students’] future career interests,” Swartz said. “We’re trying to make sure that we have local business and industry partnerships with all of our classes, so the students will be a little bit more connected to business and industry by coming out CTEC.”
Senior Maddie Vosburg, who is enrolled in Digital Electronics, has found that CTEC provides students with the tools to decide what they want to do later in life.
“For me specifically, I want to go into a technology career path, and so I think it opens up a lot of opportunities and learning experiences from that,” Vosburg said. “For me specifically, I was debating what I want to do in college, so these classes allowed me to kind of explore more of the [electrical] side of engineering or software engineering that I might want to go into in college. That has pointed me to the direction I want to go in the future.”
For science teacher Neil McLeod, who teaches robotics at CTEC, the building provides many new resources, such as an open area in the center of the building that the team uses to hold meetings and practice driving their robots, that have helped the robotics team.
“Before, for the robotics team, we were based out of Mill Valley High School, [in] just one of the classrooms, and we didn’t have a designated computer lab for programmers to work,” McLeod said. “Between the computer lab and the fabrication lab and the atrium practice area, it’s quite a step up from what we had before,” McLeod said.
For junior Connor Bauer, half of his schedule consists of CTEC classes. Bauer is enrolled in Computer Science, Emergent Technologies, Robotics and STEM, and has enjoyed his experience in the new building.
“[CTEC has] been great,” Bauer said. “The teachers are cool and all the equipment’s awesome. It provides a way for us to get hands-on experience and use real life equipment and tools to solve real life problems.”
According to senior Julianne Long, who takes Emerging Technologies and Graphic Design at CTEC, the building provides a nice environment where students easily get along.
“There’s a much better environment there,” Long said. “There’s a lot of the high school pressure cooker vibe at Mill Valley, and at CTEC it’s very much if you like learning and art and engineering and science, come here, and you’ll fit right in.”
Similarly, junior Maddie Hanna, who is enrolled in Principles of Illustration and Biotechnical Engineering, has found that the building has a friendly environment.
“It’s such a good place to just figure out if that’s really what you want to do and the teachers are there to help you. Everyone knows each other so we’re here to help each other out and [in] allthe different classes you can help each other, so it’s really nice,” Hanna said.