Rep. Hudson sees how Carson High School tries to get students prepared for workforce

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8) and his wife, Renee, left, walk through the music department of Carson High School on Friday.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8) and his wife, Renee, left, walk through the music department of Carson High School on Friday.

SALISBURY — As the nation continues its job recovery efforts, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson hopes better collaboration between high schools and colleges will lead to more jobs.

And he liked what he saw in one local high school Friday.

Hudson, a Republican representing the 8th District, toured classrooms at Carson High School after the congressman said he wanted to see some of the school’s innovative programs and technical training classes.

Hudson, who said he hopes to visit about one school a month, is on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

School officials led the congressman through several classes, including masonry, wood working, business and marketing and the highly regarded drama class.

During the tour, school officials told Hudson of the programs Carson and other local schools have implemented — or plan to start — in an effort to grow certifications or classes with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

“Rowan County is probably ahead of the game when it comes to working with community colleges and making sure students have the pathways (to careers),”?Hudson said Friday.

From Alex Reynolds’ drama class to Phil Faggart’s masonry to Vic McCallum’s cabinet making, the tour whizzed by Friday morning.

In each class, students were hunched over their computers finishing a hydroponics project or putting the final touches on a newly completed gun rack.

In Cameron Frick’s earth environmental class, Frick showed Hudson some of the apps his students use on their school-provided iPads.

“With Apple TV, I?can show this anywhere in the room,”?Frick said, motioning to a projector screen near the front of the room.

Between tour stops, Hudson stopped to watch a group of students who were weaving through the hallways on a scavenger hunt.

At each hidden location, social studies teacher Josh Trexler said, students had to scan a Q-R code with their cell phone, which gave information about specific battles of the Civil War.

“This is an exciting school,” Hudson said. “You can just feel the energy here.”

Hudson said he often runs into local employers who don’t have job applicants with knowledge of welding, electronics or other technical skills.

The congressman said he’s glad to see innovative programs, like those at Carson, can provide students with dual credit for high school and college.

“It also shows kids the relevance of what they’re doing,” Hudson said.

Several officials accompanied Hudson and his wife, Renee, on the tour. School Principal Kelly Withers, Assistant Superintendent Julie Morrow and Director of Secondary Education Eisa Cox were among the congressman’s brief entourage.

Withers said she chose some of her Career and Technical Education classes to show the congressman, but added the drama department and a Chinese language program — both of which, she said, provide a unique education for area students.

By showing Hudson around, Withers said, she hopes her students understood the importance of the skills learned at this stage in their education.

“For us, the great thing about having (Hudson) here is it’s a great opportunity for our kids to meet a congressman, which isn’t something that happens for them every day,”?Withers said.

Hudson’s district sprawls across 12 counties, including parts of Rowan, Cabarrus and Stanly.

Like Hudson, Withers said taking a deeper look at the success of CTE classes and providing engaging environments can help keep student dropout rates low and make students feel their classwork is relevant.

“I think that’s one of the things that we do well as a district,” Withers said. “We try to find unique ways to engage students so that they hopefully graduate from high school.”

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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