As crowds from all over the Verde Valley gathered at the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education’s new campus in Cottonwood, fire science students Levi Parker and Jayson Martinez demonstrated the speedy yet challenging process of putting on firefighting gear.
“We try to get it on in under 60 seconds,” Parker said. “We will be racing to see who gets it on faster. Right now [Martinez] is the quickest.”
Parker, who is also a Mingus High School student, said the courses he’s taking at VACTE are giving him a leg up for the real world.
“We are getting a competitive edge,” he said.
Nursing Assistant student Emma Williams, left and recent VACTE graduate Talon Whiteley test the blood pressure of student Terra Allen as part of a demonstration for spectators at the new VACTE campus in Cottonwood. (Kelcie Grega/Larson Newspapers)
Student demonstrations were part of VACTE’s open house and grand opening of its new career and technical education facility at 3405 E. State Route 89A on Jan. 23. Students in the Verde Valley can enroll in VACTE courses to earn college credit, college certification and industry-recognized certification.
Nursing assistant students Terra Allen, Talon Whiteley and Emma Williams demonstrated to spectators the proper way to check a patient’s vital signs and blood pressure.
“These are all skills we will be tested on later,” Williams said.
Williams, who wants to go into nursing after graduation, said she chose to enroll in the VACTE program so she could get a head start. She plans on going Grand Canyon University when she graduates.
Whitley said she also plans to go into nursing and is looking into applying to Northern Arizona University.
“It’s just so great that we can take all these classes in high school,” she said. “It’s a $3,000 course that we’re basically getting for free.”
VACTE will be leasing out its middle classroom to Yavapai College for its phlebotomy lab.
Phlebotomy — the process of drawing blood from a vein — will be taught to nursing assistant students enrolled in VACTE. IV practice arms with accurate venous anatomy are provided for instruction.
Pamela Hower, who assists in teaching, said she is excited and anxious for students to have the opportunity to use them.
“When I was learning this, we just practiced on each other,” she said.
VACTE superintendent Bob Weir, left and Chairman Frank Vander Horst cut the ribbon for the school's new campus on State Route 89A on Tuesday, Jan. 23. (Kelcie Grega/Larson Newspapers)
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, VACTE Superintendent Bob Weir mentioned the trials and tribulations he and other faculty members had in getting the program to where it is today but now has an overall positive outlook for the future.
Key players from satellite schools all over the Verde Valley were also in attendance to show their support.
Getting the new facility up and running was a grassroots effort with students and faculty helping in the move-in process. The 7,700-square-foot suite that now houses the new campus was originally a Flip City Gym.
“Construction students helped remodel the building for class use,” Weir said.
VACTE board president Frank Vander Horst stood alongside Weir as they cut the ribbon together.
“I’m so proud to be part of this team led by Bob,” he said. “The ship has risen.”
One of Arizona’s 14 Joint Technical Education Districts, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education is a public school district that offers career and technical education programs to sophomores, juniors and seniors throughout Sedona and the Verde Valley. It was founded in 2001 by voters. VACTE serves students from public, private and charter schools, as well as students who are home-schooled. VACTE also serves students under the age of 22 who have not earned a diploma or GED certificate. In addition to programs traditionally offered at Mingus Union High School, Camp Verde High School and Sedona Red Rock High School, VACTE offers central campus certificate programs including construction, culinary, fire science, medical assistant, nursing assistant and welding. When possible, VACTE works with local secondary education and adult CTE schools to offer classes, certificates and college credit. For more information, visit vacte.com or call 634-7131.
Kelcie Grega can be reached at 634-8551, or email email@example.com