February 27, 2017
Walking down the D hallway after lunch, Atholton students often try to guess what the Culinary Academy students are cooking today based on the delightful aroma that permeates the hallway. Whether the aroma comes from cinnamon buns, french toast, or chicken tenders, the Culinary students are always excited to cook scrumptious dishes, as well as take a course that will impact their future career and lifestyle.
Junior Andie Smith, a third year Culinary Science student, is interested in the restaurant industry and plans to pursue business or marketing in college. Smith hopes to use the skills she learned in the Culinary Academy to open her own restaurant one day.
The Culinary Academy, however, is only one of the five Career Academies offered at Atholton. Career Academies, either offered at the student’s home school or the Applied Research Lab (ARL), are a series of courses taken throughout high school with the intent to prepare the student for a specific career area. These academics provide students with a unique opportunity to gain an industry certificate during high school and/or earn college credit. Often, students choose to study this career area in college or apply for an entry level job related to this career area directly following high school.
At Atholton High School, there are five academies offered: Marketing, Computer Programming, Culinary Science, Engineering (PLTW), and Teaching Academy of Maryland.
The Marketing Academy gives students the opportunity to learn skills about advertising, promotion, and the marketing environment in general. In the academy, students study current marketing trends, connect with professionals, and attend marketing events.
Junior Brandon Wesley believes the Marketing Academy allows him to pursue his career interest while still in high school. “I wanted to take this academy because it is a step forward in my future,” he said. “This academy will help me pursue what I want to do in life, which is business.”
The Computer Programming Academy allows students to learn the principles of computer programming. Students work in either teams or alone to complete various programming projects. In addition, they have the opportunity to participate in programming events.
“My favorite thing about being in [The Computer Programming Academy] is being able to learn more about a topic that I enjoy and that could help me succeed later in life,” Sophomore Andy Boulle said. “It is also fun making the programs because I feel very accomplished when I finish one of the difficult ones, and it does everything it is supposed to do correctly.”
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teaches students about different aspects of engineering, often designing and building solutions to various engineering problems. Junior Jake Morales specifically enjoys “the long term projects that we get to work on at our own pace for multiple days or weeks. There is not a lot of stress because we get a lot of time, and I can be creative with what I am doing.”
The Teacher Academy of Maryland offers the unique opportunity for students to get hands on experience with kids in the daycare held at Atholton. Students in the teaching academy often interact with the daycare kids by observing them and developing and carrying out lesson plans. Junior Jay Sanghavi said, “My favorite thing about this academy is when we go to the daycare and play with the little kids in order to learn how they interact with each other it is really fun. We also research how children grow up.”
As of right now there are a total of 20 career academies offered in Howard County, however, the coordinator of Howard County career academies says that “new academies may be brought into the county when there is a student/community interest and resources are available.”
From whipping up delicious cakes to coding for a website, Atholton students are gaining experience in career options that will help them excel in college, career, and beyond.