The Sioux Falls School District provides many opportunities for area students, which includes CTE Academy, an institution that teaches a variety of classes to satiate students’ academic appetite, and even out-of-district kids attend, provided they have the time in their schedules. This separate school offers specific advantages to students who seek to pursue more specific career fields. Connor Jensen, a sophomore at Harrisburg High School and Aviation student at CTE, believes that the school is more hands-on, and he enjoys shooting off rockets and flying on their simulators. He aspires to be a commercial aviation pilot and thinks that the programs are helpful because of their ability to teach him more about Aviation and flight, something not found in ordinary high school classrooms. Laureen Mehlert, who teaches Media Arts and Aviation at CTE Academy states, “I do think that the hands-on classes encourage students to really think about whether that career field is right for them before they enter the higher education arena. In the end, if the student tries a content area before they get to higher education, then, I think, they spend less money in the long run.”
CTE offers numerous courses, which range from Culinary Arts to Robotics, so virtually any student can explore courses focused on a future career path that best suits them. The most prevalent courses at the CTE Academy consist of Health Careers – an area that Harrisburg has been trying to implement into its own curriculum. At CTE, however, the health classrooms are at maximum capacity due to the sheer number of students who apply for these offerings. In turn, Harrisburg High School has incorporated more health and medical focused courses such as Project Lead the Way, a course that is already offered, since students can then attend it at Harrisburg, rather than travel to the CTE Academy. These are not the only classes being added at HHS; other subjects like Intro to Construction, Sports Marketing, and EMT Training have also been added to the future roster of high school course offerings. Ultimately, CTE Academy is a great opportunity for students, and those who take advantage of this opportunity are able to learn unique skills and knowledge pertaining to their future career aspirations.