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Career and Technology Students Tour Facilities for Manufacturing Month


Nearly 150 Career and Technical Education students from both Wylie ISD high schools participated in Manufacturing Day -- all month long. 

National Manufacturing Day is a day designated to encourage companies around the nation to open their doors to educational institutions, parents, students and the community to showcase the reality of modern manufacturing careers. 

Wylie ISD’s Manufacturing celebrations kicked off on Manufacturing Day, Oct. 7, with advanced-level CTE students listening as the superintendent, mayor and local engineers shared their career stories. 

Afterward, students toured various professional facilities aligning with their career paths.

Speakers talk to students.

Superintendent Dr. David Vinson and City of Wylie Mayor Matt Porter welcome Career and Technology students to the Birmingham Ag Center. Mayor Porter issued a Proclamation designating the first Friday in October as Manufacturing Day in Wylie, Texas.

Engineers from Raytheon Todd Pickens, Terry Downs and Wylie ISD graduate Parker Herzog encouraged students to learn from every opportunity that comes their way.

Herzog, a Wylie East High School Class of 2017 Graduate, shared how his mastery of math and science skills began his journey to becoming an aerospace engineer.

“I wasn’t really sure what it meant to be an engineer,” Herzog said. “Through taking [the engineering pathway at WEHS with] Dr. Jacob Day though, I learned about all the different disciplines of engineering, what skills would be required for those disciplines, and basic engineering skills such as critical thinking and an intro to coding.”

Through interactions and activities from his Wylie ISD CTE pathway, as well as his own research, Herzog was able to narrow down his selections to Civil, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“In the end, I ultimately decided on doing Aerospace Engineering which allowed me to get to where I am now, at my dream job!” Herzog said.

Man speaks to crowd.

Former Wylie ISD engineering student Parker Herzog explains his journey from the Wylie ISD engineering program to becoming an aerospace engineer, his “dream job.”

Raytheon Technologies, an aerospace and defense company, provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government entities. 

Raytheon’s high-energy, laser system technology enables detection of military threats including unmanned aerial systems and rockets. Students got to hold and analyze a drone that was shot down by one of their laser systems.

Boys hold drone.

Students study a drone shot down by Raytheon’s high-energy laser system.

The City of Wylie Traffic Department was also on hand to educate CTE students. 

Students listen to speaker.

CTE students learn how traffic signals are programmed and function by the City of Wylie Public Works employees.

While at Savage Precision, students learned how the manufacturer makes precision parts for America’s Fighter Jet Fleet. 

Students listen to man.

Savage Precision shared with students how they make precision parts for fighter jets.

Students also toured Avanti, Lonestar Circuits, Barco Pump, Savage Precision and CNC Innovations. 

Throughout the month, other CTE pathways toured facilities in their fields of study too.

Ten Pharmacy Technician students toured Quality Care and Sands RX compounding pharmacies and Helm Dental Labs.

Students pose outside.

Pharm Tech students toured pharmacies and dental labs Oct. 19 as a part of Manufacturing Day.

Pharmacist Craig Goodson at Quality Care showed the students his lab and explained how they make all types of medications, from suppositories to lollipops.

Students listen to man.

Pharmacist Craig Goodson explains which flavors cover bitter-tasting medications best.

Wylie East Senior Faithful Ibe plans to study Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis.  

“I found the Information about lollipops interesting,” Ilbe said. “Seeing how meds are made gave me insight because it’s something we haven't seen in class.”

Pharm Tech students even had the chance to meet a former Wylie ISD health science student working at Quality Care during their tour. JT Gothard was also in the health sciences pathway at East. He recalled how his health science teacher, Mrs. Ronda Sisak, was a big reason he wanted to pursue healthcare.

“She was a good teacher,” Gothard said. “She always made sure I studied.”

At Sands RX, Pharmacist Beau Heskes explained how medications are compounded, then took the pharm tech students on private tours of their three different pressure rooms. 

Girls listen to man.

Students observe as pharmacists suit up in personal care protective suits before entering the pressure rooms.

Students watched through windows of the sterile and non-sterile pressure rooms as certified employees in protective gear made hazardous medications. 

Techs work in lab.

Sands RX has three different pressure rooms where pharmacists fill prescriptions.

Construction and Architecture students participated in “Anatomy of a Construction Project” Oct. 26. Their day began in the City Council Chambers at City Hall where they listened as City Planning Manager Jasen Haskins explained the various processes a project must go through during construction.

Boy looks at paper.

Architecture and Construction CTE students learn about code requirements at City Hall on the first stop of their “Anatomy of a Construction Project” tour.

They then toured the Emerald Vista new home community and Fuel City to see and discuss different stages of construction for both developer and commercial builds.

The month culminated with Director of Career and Technical Education Jason Hudson speaking at the October Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. To raise awareness of the important and significant role manufacturing plays in the Wylie community, he explained the 19 different CTE fields of study offered in Wylie ISD.

Man speaks at podium.

At the Wylie Chamber of Commerce October luncheon, Jason Hudson, Wylie ISD’s director of career and technical education, spoke about the 19 different fields of study in the district’s CTE program. Photo courtesy of Speak Loud Media.

By the end of the month, 300 Wylie ISD CTE students had a first-hand account of where their CTE pathways can take them.


Does Manufacturing Month have you wanting more? See below for more Career and Technical Education stories:

CTE Practicum Programs Provide Students with Real-World Experience, Teachers from Industry

SkillsUSA Students Visit DC for Conference

544 Café is Open for Business