Special ceremony honors 300+ CTE Pathway Completers


On Apr. 28, the CTE Pathway Completers were seated as Principal Justin Cutts welcomed everyone to the first annual ceremony. The ceremony recognized students who have been in their program for three or more years. Photo by Julia Cuyos

As a reward for completing at least three years in their Career & Technical Education pathways, 308 students were recognized during a ceremony in the WHS theater April 28 from 7:40-8:55 a.m. Students who completed three or four years of their pathway received a special certificate and graduation cord. 

Completing a pathway gives students several benefits that may help guide them in the future. Whether it may be a job application, resume or even applying their skills towards something important, students who complete their pathway open up a variety of options for themselves to choose from. Going through a program’s introductory course, concentration course and eventually capstone course, shows a student’s progression from a beginner level all the way up to an expert with broad knowledge about the industry. Publication Design & Multimedia teacher, Mrs. Sarah Nichols, highlights the importance of completing pathways. 

“Through the sustained involvement of a course sequence, being able to show a future employer that you had an interest and a skillset in something and you stayed with it for three or four years to mastery level with authentic experience – it really adds a lot of value you bring as a candidate for any workforce opportunity,” Nichols said. 

Students who completed a pathway last year but are not in that pathway anymore got a chance to be recognized in the ceremony, as this was the first formal recognition from the CTE department. 

“My hopes are that the students are excited about receiving recognition in front of their peers,” CTE Department Chair Mr. Ben Barnholdt said. “A lot of times when we do ceremonies, a lot of that is for parents and family, but this is truly an award show by the students and for the students.”

Students received a certificate, graduation cord and photo at a photo booth, and then all honorees returned to their seats in order for teachers to name one student from each pathway as Student of the Year. One student from each of the nine CTE Pathways were selected by their teachers for demonstrating their expertise and proficiency in their program. Child Development’s Student of the Year Ana Anderson said she was honored to be chosen. 

“I’m really excited that I’ve been chosen as student of the year for Child Development because it showed that when I work hard towards something it will pay off. I’m really passionate about teaching and plan on becoming a kindergarten teacher,” Anderson said. “This award made me so excited to have my own classroom one day and to continue pursuing this career.” 

Hearing speeches from their teachers and seeing classmates applaud, the pathway completers said they felt appreciated for the recognition they received for their hard work and commitment. Mandi Pinkerton emphasizedCa what completing her CTE Pathway meant to her. 

“Taking graphics taught me so much more than just designing. I learned how we contribute to school culture, about my peers and about myself as well,” Pinkerton said. “I believe taking and completing a CTE Pathway that truly interested me helped me develop into the person I am today.”

Similarly, Brandon Nguyen said his experiences have opened new and exciting career options for the future. 

“Sports Medicine was able to open my eyes to even more medical field career options such as physical therapy. Completing the sports medicine pathway is a very important achievement to me as it shows my dedication of interest into the topic. Things I am taking away from this pathway would be lifelong skills that will help me with my interest in the medical field,” Nguyen said. 

Students recognized in the ceremony can access their individual photo here for download. Individual pathway completer portraits were photographed by Alyssa Folmer and Katie Lacy from the Publications Design and Multimedia pathway.