More than a 1,000 6th grade students from local middle schools visited the Porterville Fairgrounds and learned about the 14 Pathways and Academies offered by the Porterville Unified School District in a hands-on, interactive exhibition on Thursday.
Groups of close to 350 or more students came into the large exhibit hall at the fairgrounds and could interact and talk to high school students who are enrolled in each pathway or academy and find out more about the various educational options they offer. It was an interesting and fun experience.
"This is a great way to introduce 6th graders to what the ACE Pathway has to offer then," said Victoria De Large, from Granite Hills, who's a Science teacher in the Academy of Careers in Education Pathway.
Kendall Miller, also from the ACE Pathway said the exhibit was a great way for the children to think of ways they can inspire people and make a difference in their school and community. Josh Torres, also in ACE, said it's a great opportunity for the 6th graders to explore all the 14 Pathways available to them.
Jeff Uruchurtu teaches 6th grade at Alta Vista, and he'd been talking to Robert Scott who teaches Physics and Chemistry at Strathmore in the Emerging Agricultural Technology Pathways program, about good teaching, "And this is good teaching," said Uruchurtu, "Getting the kids passionate about learning. The Pathways help that. We've been coming here for at least 4-5 years, and our 6th graders are learning so much here."
Jayden Thomas, Ashtyn Perry, Springville Rodeo Queen, and Victoria Munoz, are all in the EAT Pathways at Strathmore High School.
"This is an amazing experience to show young students future paths that you can take to have a successful life," said Munoz. "And the EAT Pathway is a great way to learn Agricultural skills for future careers. "
"The Pathways is the best way to find a career that fits you," said Thomas, "and they are such a great idea."
"And it's a great way to meet people and make friends who have the same interests as you," said Perry.
Agriculture is excelling these days at such a pace no one would have imagined incorporating technology as the main focus at Strathmore High School EAT Pathways, said Scott.
At the Harmony Magnet Academy of Engineering Pathway, students were demonstrating a Ballistic Launcher they made that was like a Pitching Machine, and showing 6th graders.
The exhibit gives the 6th graders the opportunity to understand what the Pathways have to offer, and a chance to open to learning about new equipment, and new jobs that are offered through the Pathways they chose, said Alyna Caudillo, an MHS senior.
The Academy of Hospitality had a great exhibit showing students how various foods interact with the five senses, said Becky Silvas, AH! program lead. Silvas said people in the food services like to promote the fact the culinary arts are the only arts that engage all five senses: taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. They had an exhibit: if you hold your nose, can you taste and smell, when you take a bite of a jelly bean. Then unstop your nose and the flavor is right there, and you can also smell. Interesting.
A student from Belleview, Esme Calderon, learned how to do CPR chest compressions on a dummy, at the PAHS exhibit, from the Academy of Health Sciences at Porterville High School. "That was really cool. I enjoyed the experiment doing CPR, and you have to learn to do it correctly, and check the person's pulse."
"The final product of the students in our academies is beyond awesome. So many people think they are professionals already," said Lillian Durbin, PUSD board president.
Cynthia Brown, PUSD Pathways Director, said the exhibit shows young students what's available to them in the real world, and helps broaden their horizons. It also helps connect their lessons to their future pursuits. And it gets better and better every year, she said.
Gordon Plaisted said the Pathways exhibition was an amazing event, and a perfect way for the 6th grade students to experience all that the 14 Pathways have to offer under one roof.
"I'm fortunate to be able to see the 6th graders here after seeing them as 5th graders in class at the AniMakers Space Labe at Citrus South Tule.” Plaisted is on the Pathways staff, and the Academy of Performing Arts Advisory Board Chair.