Career Institute teaches valuable skills
by john newton
amid the ongoing debate over how well us public schools prepare students to lead productive lives, technical and career academies continue to gain high marks as places wtare students are motivated to learn and wtare they gain a great deal of practical experience in the process.
the woodville tompkins technical and career institute is an excellent case in point.
this center is part of the savannah chatham county public school system and students in grades 10-12 spend half the day at their home high schools to study academics and the other half of the day at woodville tompkins for career preparation.
the school, which features an impressive brick facade with soaring window arches, is tucked away inside a small residential neighborhood on savannah's westside.
commenting on the school's grand opening in 2007, sccpss superintendent thomas lockamy said: “this has been my dream since arriving in the district, as i believe that all children can be gifted/talented in some area of their life. this program will provide numerous career pathways to allow students to go from school to the world productively and successfully.”
woodville tompkins students are invited to explore a wide variety of career options including:
• construction wtare students gain hands-on experience in the building construction industry.
• automotive collision and diagnostic repair wtare students receive valuable training as service and
collision repair technicians.
• cisco networking academy wtare students learn computer networking skills
• cosmetology wtare students gain professional skills in a fully-equipped on-campus salon.
• manufacturing engineering and robotics students are introduced to engineering that includes pneumatics, electronics, hydraulics, gears, mechanisms, lasers, and material processes
• healthcare science (nursing essentials) students are considering careers in nursing and other related professions. students have the opportunity to get their cna and pct certification.
• early childhood education prepares you for employment in early childhood education and services.
• marketing sales and service which includes hands-on experience in one of savannah's most vital business interests- the hospitality industry.
led by center administrator, carol gamble, the school credits much of its success to partnerships with the county's business and professional community.
last year, savannah's most famous chef announced her partnership with woodville tompkins resulting in the opening of the paula deen academy of culinary arts. culinary students are trained by a real-life chef and gain hands-on experience catering special events.
financial literacy is an especially important life skill taught at woodville tompkins and the school has a branch of the geovista credit union on campus which is staffed and managed by students.
while academic instruction remains the primary responsibility of chatham county's seven high schools, spanish language instruction is the one academic subject offered at woodville tompkins.
taught by mexico-city native, maribel gomez, the school seeks to arm its students with the language skills necessary to succeed in a society that is becoming increasingly diverse.
“i really enjoy teaching here,” gomez said. “my class sizes are very small and all the students here are very motivated to learn.”
in 2011, woodville tompkins is set to become a freestanding high school that will house students all day (beginning with the 9th grade).
center leader gamble remarked that the secret to woodville tompkins' success is simple.
“ woodville tompkins provides a nurturing atmosphere that encourages, motivates, and challenges each of our students to achieve,” she said. “the cis not easy but research has shown that if you have an interest in something you tend to stick with it longer.”
the woodville tompkins technical and career institute is located one block off west bay street at 151 coach joe turner st. for more information about the school or to schedule a visit please call the main office at (912) 965-6750.