The recent Olympics Games and NCAA tournament were exciting! Many of us watched and cheered for our favorites, and we appreciated the skill and dedication of the competitors as the pit their best effort against the other best athletes in their events.
In career-technical schools like Great Oaks Career Campuses, students each year participate in similar competition. Every student is a member of a career-technical student organization (CTSO), a national organization dedicated to specific career fields. You may be familiar with agricultural organizations like FFA, business and marketing groups like DECA or Business Professionals of America (BPA). Great Oaks students belong to one of six such CTSOs.
Through these organizations, students can meet top professionals in their field, attend conferences, and participate in competitions.
The competitions are detailed and difficult. A group of law enforcement students may have to process a vehicle set up as a mock crime scene. Marketing students may have just minutes to read a case study and develop a marketing plan. Construction students must demonstrate their skill in planning and building a structure, and so on. In each case, the students are evaluated and scored by professionals, and the top competitors move on to the next level.
Education studies (Massoni 2011) show that extracurricular activities like this reinforce the lessons learned, allow students to use their skills in a real-world setting, lead to higher grades, and even improve self-esteem. For our students, CTSO activities help develop future professionals.
We’re in the midst of the 2018 competition season, and already 692 Great Oaks students have qualified for state-level competition—and of those, 139 are headed to national competition with more likely to follow.
National recognition in any endeavor is difficult to achieve, so we’re extremely proud of these young men and women. They have skills, abilities and knowledge that will take them far in life.
Harry Snyder is the president/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses.