Getting students ready for college and careers

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:50 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As students prepare to start a new school year, many already have an eye on the future.

Administrators are helping students find their path and opening new doors along the way.

“We’re exposing kids early, letting them know that there are opportunities,” Dr. Angie Lewis said.

Dr. Lewis is the interim executive director for the Office of Career and College Readiness. She oversees a multitude of paths available to students in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

“We’re teaching our kids skills to last beyond high school,” Dr. Lewis said.

And they have the community behind them with 75 business partnerships offering opportunities for students.

“Whether it be culinary, cosmetology, tech engineering, you name it - we offer it.”

Yanella Biggins is proof the program works. She graduated from Woodville-Tompkins High School in May.

“I learned a lot about what I want to do, especially in the program,” Biggins said.

She joined a welding class during her sophomore year.

“When I first got put in the class, I was like this is just a GPA class. I was not really looking forward to it. But as soon as I started welding and get behind that rod, I was really in love with it,” Biggins said.

And that love has translated into a good paying job at JCB just weeks after graduation.

“It’s a huge accomplishment by itself. I have guys out here that have been doing this 15-20 years and she’s hanging with them step by step all day, every day,” JCB supervisor Samuel O’Connell said.

The school system offers Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education in every high school and most middle schools. It holds a variety of career fairs during the year and the annual STEM Festival in January.

All to open doors for thousands of new students, like Biggins, each spring.

“These students have an opportunity to graduate from high school and pursue a career, a life changing career where they’re making $20-$30 an hour straight out of high school,” Dr. Lewis said.

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