LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — The students at the Allen Thornton Career Technical Center in Lauderdale County are hard at work. But it's no ordinary school day. Students from all seven of Lauderdale County's high schools are showing off their skills in the system's first-ever Career Technical Student Organization Competition.
"We have students all across the campus competing against one another in different skills and leadership events," said Principal Gary Dan Williams.
Students compete in areas like welding, auto collision repair, cosmetology, and more. "We have a little bit of everything," said Williams. "Programs that prepare students to go to go directly to work, to go to two-year schools, to four-year schools, apprenticeship programs."
The work was more like fun in Thursday's competitions, but planning for the event did take some effort. The principal added, "I give all the credit to our instructors here on campus for preparing their students and getting them ready and preparing them with the skills that they needed to be able to be competitive to attempt to win this thing today."
Because of the real-world experience learned at the center, students are referred to as employees when they walk through the doors.
"STEM is becoming more important every day," said Williams. "More technology-driven jobs are coming to the Valley area."
In keeping pace with the ever-growing tech careers, the center will add a cybersecurity program beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.