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What’s the link between iced macaroons and a PC cooled with water? The students exploring hundreds of careers at Kent Career Tech Center

Kent ISD — Doesn’t it look fun?

And while Kent Career Tech Center students will tell you how much they enjoy what they’re doing, students were hard at work when School News Network stopped by last week.

High school juniors and seniors in a variety of programs were both learning and demonstrating new skills, from reviewing designs in Graphic Communication, to making desserts in Hospitality/Culinary, testing networks in IT, or working with pneumatics in Mechatronics. Located on the campus of Kent ISD and a couple of satellite locations, about 2600 students a year participate in the programs.

The Tech Center offers about 20 different career programs that are in-demand with local employers. The unique school is open to students in all schools within the borders of Kent ISD, and is free (supported by millage dollars). All programs earn free college/specialty school credit and many offer a fast track to a career-related degree.

From left, Ainsley Patterson, a senior at Kent Innovation High and Graphic Communications Instructor Kylie Dykema, take the decal sheet from the printer to the table, while Evan Narva, a homeschooled student, watches his decal designs come to life
From left, Ainsley and Evan view the decals designed by students in the Graphic Communication program
From left, Ainsley, Krista Osmun, a senior at Comstock Park High School; Graphic Communications Instructor Kylie Dykema; Evan; and Austin Fisk, Kent Innovation High junior, look over a decal design sheet and prepare to laminate it in the Graphic Communication program
Meili Melton, a senior at Forest Hills Eastern, whisks the macaroon batter in the Culinary Program
From left, Lejla Alic, a senior at East Kentwood and Dulce Guzman, a senior at Union discuss Blingy PC, the student-built custom PC with water coolant in the Information Technology Program
From left, students set up a hydraulic circuit in the Mechatronics Program: Carter Goostrey, a junior at Lowell High School; Dylan Cashman, a junior at Comstock Park High School; Hannah Wright, a junior at Sparta High School; and William Oberg, a junior at Kent City High School
From left clockwise, working on a pneumatics project in the Mechatronics Program are Bryson Harrington, a senior at Grandville High School; Jacob Herrema, a junior at Grandville High School; Charlie Hoekema, a junior at Grandville; Mechatronics Instructor Travis Raspotnik; and Deven Mata, a junior at Comstock Park High School
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Dianne Carroll Burdick
Dianne Carroll Burdick has worked as a photojournalist in the West Michigan area since 1991. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she has photographed for The Grand Rapids Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Detroit Free Press, Advance Newspapers, Grand Rapids Magazine, BLUE Magazine and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting and thought provoking stories of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2016.

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