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Middle school students can 'dream big' at expo

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Jan. 19, 2013 at 4:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

Robert Jaklich

It is truly an exciting time in the Victoria Independent School District with many "magical moments" happening daily. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, "Faith is taking that first step, even when you do not see the staircase." We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all of our VISD community members for having the faith and belief that anything is possible within our "612 Square Miles of Excellence."

On Jan. 23 and 24, the Victoria ISD's Career and Technical Education Department, in partnership with the Alcoa Foundation and the Victoria Business and Education Coalition, will be hosting our first "Dream Big STEM Expo" at the VISD Conference Center. This project was developed out of a need to connect our eighth-grade students with career opportunities in the fields of science, technology engineering and math. In the state of Texas, each eighth-grade student is required to develop a personal achievement plan that provides them with a blueprint for a career pathway for four years of high school and two years of post-secondary education.

Each middle school will have two hours to learn from industry partners such as Alcoa, Dow, Formosa, INVISTA, Caterpillar, Victoria Police and Fire Departments, Warm Springs, DeTar Hospital, Key and Associates, Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria. The Dream Big STEM Expo is intended to enhance our students' awareness of the many career paths available. It is also not your traditional career fair. The event will provide breakout sessions where students will hear about the real world of industry from positive adult role models and experts in the various fields. These experts will share success stories and present career opportunities, including a cause of action to fulfill our student's education goals.

Beginning in early February 2013, our VISD guidance counselors will begin working with our eighth-grade students for ninth-grade pre-registration. This will allow our students to stay fully informed and allow them to make precise decisions affecting their future.

We will also be offering the opportunity for our high school students, parents, community members and surrounding school districts to join our evening sessions from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on both dates. The evening sessions are tailored to assist students, parents and community members in learning about employment opportunities that exist in the Crossroads job market.

An event of this magnitude could never have taken place without the dedication, commitment and vision of all the parties involved. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire school district, we extend our sincere appreciation to these "Champions for our Children" and for challenging us to do more, to learn more, to dream more, and most importantly, to become more.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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