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PURCHASE LINE: Students explore career options at tech center

by BRIANNE GUZMAN, JARVIS BAKER and HOPE HANKINSON, Gazette Student News Reporters on February 21, 2014 11:00 AM

PURCHASE LINE — The Indiana County Technology Center is a schooling option available to sophomores through seniors in Indiana County that is dedicated to helping the students improve certain academic and technical skills to become capable of meeting employers’ needs when they get into “the real world.” Not only can it help prepare you, but also it helps assure your employer that you have experience and can do the job.

“The world of work is ever-changing, and from year to year you don’t know what jobs are popular and available, so it’s our job to expose students to as many possibilities as we can,”  Jeremy Bracken, guidance counselor, said.

On Feb. 4, several interested students from Purchase Line High School went to “shadow” two chosen programs at ICTC to explore them deeper than they had during a previous tour to see if it interests them as a schooling option.

Students who went to the shadowing program came back excited and eager to share their experiences and decisions on whether or not ICTC is for them.

Freshman Chaney J. Pugh has decided that going to ICTC for Electrical Occupation is for her.

When she was shadowing, they had her put together a doorbell, which she described as being “very challenging, and I like challenges.” She also shadowed at Computer Systems Technology, where they took apart PCs, but it wasn’t nearly as interesting to her.

Freshman Lexie Huey wasn’t too crazy about the Cosmetology program, though she enjoyed the hot-wax hand massage. Huey said, “I really liked the nursing program (Health Occupation). It was a really cool learning experience.” 

She plans on attending the nursing program next year.

Freshman Ashton Bouch sees it the other way. Bouch said, “The one I liked best was Cosmetology because … cutting hair and doing nails is what’s easy. I did not like nursing because it’s a lot of hard work.”

Freshman Oressa Harkins said she liked the culinary aspects of her shadowing experience at ICTC. She said, “I like to cook, just like my dad.”

Freshman Rachel Barnett went for Culinary Arts and Cosmetology. The Culinary Arts aspect wasn’t as great as she had expected, though she enjoyed the making and eating of corn dogs.

Although, she said, “Cosmo was really fun and interests me.” The hot-wax hand massage was something she really enjoyed. Plus, watching them cut hair was interesting for her. Barnett is considering a career with Cosmetology aspects and definitely plans on attending ICTC for Cosmetology.

Eighth-grader Jarvis Baker also attended and shadowed for Graphics and Electronic Media and Computer Systems Technology.

“At Computer Systems Tech, the instructor answered our questions about what we would do for the first half, which was repair hard drives, install software and troubleshoot computer problems. For the second half, he let us take apart computers, and look at what makes them tick. He had students explain what the parts were as we were taking them off,” Baker said.

“In Graphic Design (Graphics and Electronic Media), when we got there, we went to a person that we either knew, or that we were willing to work with. When we were with that person, they helped us pick a decal, and sent us to get them printed. We were supposed to cut them out ourselves, but the students basically did that,” Baker explained. He said that he really enjoyed Computer Systems Tech, and he wants to do it is his 10th-grade year.

The programs ICTC offers are Auto Technology, Carpentry, Collision Repair Technology, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Occupation, Health Occupation, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Machining Technology, Masonry, Welding, Digital Media Technology, Graphics and Electronic Media, and Computer Systems Technology.

Bracken believes the opportunity for students to have another schooling option, such as ICTC, is a very beneficial thing. “ICTC provides our students with the opportunity to become trained in areas of interest, and can open doors to further education, until they can match their interest to a career.”


Students in English teacher Sylvia Mahaffey’s English 11 class are engaged in reading S.E. Hinton’s “That Was Then, This is Now.”

Mahaffey chose the book because “I think she is good at portraying conflicts that students can relate to.” Mahaffey read some of Hinton’s other books in college.

Mahaffey believes it’s important for students to be interested in what they’re reading.

[PHOTOS: Purchase Line High School juniors Garrett Gardner and Amanda Fetterman, are reading S.E Hinton’s book “That Was Then, This is Now” in Sylvia Mahaffey’s English 11 class. (Hope Hankinson/Purchase Line High School photos)]

“Students who read usually do better in school,” added Mahaffey.

She thinks this book is relatable to students because “all the conflicts Hinton writes about are relevant to today.”

I agree with Mahaffey because teens today also deal with relationships and friends distancing. The book was really easy to read because it was written at a teen level, with correct grammar on purpose.

I think Hinton was trying to teach teens that not every story has a happy ending. Also, Hinton is basically saying that everyone has their faults in life and no one is ever perfect. She expresses that friends can turn on you at any given point.

Junior Erica Mason said, “Although it is not what I prefer to read, it was an overall good book. It shows and helps express the challenges that happen in everyday life for teens.”

Junior Brandon Gromley added, “It was a good book, but it just ended and left you (to) wonder what happened.”

“I enjoyed reading it, because it was easy to relate to,” said junior Zachary Faught.

Hadyn Greene, also a junior, enjoyed reading “That Was Then, This is Now.” “I liked it because I thought it was very interesting,” commented Greene. “I would read a book like that again,” he added.

Greene encouraged junior Dylan Hart to read the book. Hart thought it was “funny,” but was disappointed with the book’s ending.

“It was a good book, but the end was horrible,” agreed junior Garrett Gardner.

“So many readers say the ending made them throw the book against the wall,” Hinton commented on her website. “… and I say, ‘Great, you got it!’”

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