To give middle school students the opportunity to explore a variety of career fields, the Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton conducted its annual Career Connections Summer Camp for 6th, 7th and 8th graders from June 6 to June 16.
Students could choose between a plethora of exciting courses such as cybersecurity, carpentry, international cooking, photography, 3D animation, engineering or biomedical explorations.
In the cybersecurity class, students learned the Linux operating system, how to make ethernet cables and how to format and encrypt USB drives.
“You need math, and you need patience. It was frustrating for them at first, but once they had figured it out, they really liked it. They did pretty good,” instructor Tyler Robinson said.
In the carpentry class, students spent their time building a bird house, a bench as well as small race cars that they put to a race against each other at the end.
“We taught students measuring and cutting and how to use different saws, tools and other equipment and especially how to use them safely,” said Tanner Biggs, who has worked 15 years for the Great Plains Technology Center and teaches a class called construction traits.
“Building race cars was one of their favorite things. A lot goes into weight, but also aerodynamics.”
In another class, students created own battery-powered boats that they could put to a test in a small pool outside the building. One of the students was 12-year-old Huck Hanza. He enjoyed the class because “the teachers here could offer more hands-on practice than at school.”
“We want to allow the students to explorer career fields at an early age with the end goal for them to attend the tech center when they are juniors and seniors in high school,” Kristy Barnett, career counselor, said. “The tech center will provide the skill set they need to be an asset in the workforce.”