Make. Just make. This is the key. The world is a better place as a participatory sport. Being creative, the act of creating and making, is actually fundamental to what it means to be human. — Maker-Movement Manifesto
This quote is one that always seems to resonate with my CTE beliefs. It is in CTE that students are presented an opportunity to actively engage with their teachers, peers and community to “make” business and industry practices, procedures, processes and conceptual understandings clearer for present and future sustainability. This sustainability impacts the global economy, so just “make.”
A recent graduate from CTE shared a story about his experience and his ability to create — make — things he never imagined or believed he could. The student started CTE in 10th grade; he had no true ambitions or interest in the CTE pathway in which he was enrolled. Then one day, he was required to pitch his business plan and in that moment his life changed forever. His imagination and creativity allowed him to create a gaming app for students with autism to calm their test-taking anxiety. He wanted his brother to enjoy and find passion in learning as well. He said: “Why ‘make’ learning or even test-taking such a uncomfortable experience? I am okay with hard work but why did school always feel like if I didn’t do it the prescribed way, I failed or wouldn’t ‘make’ it?” As I listened, I didn’t have the answer, but what I did have was inspiration and hope.
This is just one student in CTE but as they share their stories with us, collectively we have thousands who were able to take the skills and concepts learned, make business plans or inventions, and turn them into their reality. He was able to visualize what he could do and become. This student now has a “choice-filled life” where he is able to “make” critical decisions about his business and future, but more importantly how he will impact the world.
We have an intentional and purposeful commitment in CTE. Allow CTE students to dream, build, create — make — and explore being innovators, problem-solvers and entrepreneurs. The global workforce is waiting on them, which is a CTE MATTER!
Eboni Camille Chillis is the coordinator of career, technical and agricultural education for Clayton County Public Schools.
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