Beyond the School Zone

Career Day: that special day in elementary when everyone would come dressed as what they wanted to be when they grew up, whether they wanted to be a teacher, doctor, or even a superhero. For most people, it’s a short-lived memory, but for the students who attend the Miller Center for Career and Technology, this is a daily occurrence. Every day, high school students from all over the district go to Miller to get more than a high school credit; they get a taste of the real world outside of a textbook. 

“Miller is awesome. I feel like I am learning what I need to know for the real world,” Kori Do said. “It’s the epitome of a hands-on learning experience. It’s also super diverse as well, there’s a variety of different career classes from law enforcement to even clinical rotation. It’s very different from normal high school.”

It is different. And it’s not only what is taught, but the curriculum and the way the classes are structured. The students learn exactly what they need to be successful in their area of study, along with the bonus of experiencing what that specific job entails. They don’t spend the entire day in the classroom looking over textbooks and Google Slides, which makes each class period something to look forward to. 

“For the education class (Instructional Practices in Education), we spend Mondays and Tuesdays at Miller for 6th and 7th period – it’s a block period,” junior Natalie Guske said. “Then for the other three days of the week we go to Hutsell Elementary school where we help out in the classrooms.”

The great thing about Miller is that students do more than watch the teacher give a demonstration of what they are supposed to do. They get the opportunity to gain insight into the day-to-day life of someone in the career field they are looking toward.

The cosmetology students at Miller run a hair salon where actual paying customers come to get their hair done. Also, the automotive class students fix cars for people who come in for service. At the end of some of the courses, students are awarded licenses, which they can use to get jobs after high school.

“That’s the reason I want to go to Miller,”  junior Mia Bonilla said. “I want to do the Medical Assistant course, so I could get my (medical assistant) certificate, and start making money after high school, plus it will be an opportunity to gain medical experience and help develop my career.” 

However, for some, signing up for Miller means having to sacrifice their summers for an online school to make enough space in their schedule for prerequisite courses, or having to opt out of “fun” courses. Transportation can be an issue as well, with Miller being quite a distance from the school; the drive to Miller from school and back can deter people from signing up for it. 

“Honestly, transportation can be difficult to figure out sometimes, especially since for the second year of the class you have to drive yourself to your internship and summer classes are always annoying,” Guske said. “However, I think that going to Miller has been a really rewarding experience because it allows you to get some hands-on experience and try out a job to see if it’s something you want to pursue in the future.”

The district prides itself on allowing students to learn through hands-on experiences, and Miller is the epitome of that. It brings the real world to students so they can experience it for themselves and decide what they want to do in the future. And to students, that’s what matters to them. Because after all, they are the future.