FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Students in Fairfield County are just five days away from heading back to school. And one school has undergone a major upgrade—not only with the facility but with new programs it's offering. Students at Fairfield Central High will have much to look forward to this school year with new programs at Fairfield Career and Technology Center providing hands-on experience for future careers.
One of the two new programs is barbering. The barbering program is designed to give the students at Fairfield Central High the same opportunities as those who might go to a technical school after high school. Students will start by learning the importance of safety and how to use all of the equipment. They will get to practice on mannequins, and in a couple of months will be able to give haircuts to people in the community. Once students successfully complete the program they will obtain their barbering license at the end of the school year.
"They get the early start with the license. Most kids when they leave have to go out in the industry and actually get some kind of loans to get some kind of degree or actually get some kind of trade. But leaving high school with this license is going to prepare them to do things a lot better than most kids will actually have the opportunity to do," says barber instructor, Marwin McKnight.
Another new program is the Firefighting and Emergency Management program. Over the last couple of years, the firefighters association has been pushing for this kind of program in South Carolina high schools. Students will take classes designed to learn basic terminology and protocol—but then they'll head out to the training center where they will get to throw ladders, conduct hazmat drills, search and rescue, and more. And after successful completion students will have their certification and be able to work for a fire station.
The engineering program is in its second year at Fairfield Central High. The program has two components: Introduction into Engineering Design and Principals of Engineering. The teacher for the engineering program, Shawn Drake, says the beginning fundamentals of engineering really comes down to critical thinking. The students are asked to do several projects throughout the year, in which they work under time deadlines and budgets as if they were working for an engineering firm. After students complete the first year program, they progress to the second, ultimately getting them ready for a career in any type of engineering field. The new facility givers them more space and new technology.
"We have resources here that lends themselves to everything that we're trying to instruct students in. We're preparing them for 21st century learning -- that's a big initiative in education now because they're going to be functioning in a world where they're going to have access and know how to be able to use and manipulate all these resources. So we have them at our disposal here without any hiccups," says Drake.
Students will also be able to take advantage of the expanded biomedical program. The facility has new beds, practice mannequins and more. This is the second year of the program. There are four main classes designed to help the students who want to go into the biomedical field or pursue a career in science. Students will be able to practice patient care or identifying how a person died by conducting an actual autopsy on a person's body. Officials
say the new building enhances the learning process because it's a new environment.
"It's a new building, the furniture is new, and it allows them to do hands on kinds of things with mannequins and that sort of thing. So I'm really excited. As I told Mr. Dinkins, I can't wait to get students in here and start showing off the equipment that we have," says Health Science Instructor Edna Johnson.
"The biomedical part is very hands on. It's student driven. It's student delivered," said Assistant Administrator Teresa Holmes. "The teacher serves as more of a facilitator because that way when the kids get to college, that's exactly what they'll have to do in college."
More than half of the students at Fairfield Central High are enrolled in one of these four programs.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tonight at 4. From 4:30-7:30PM is an open house.The community is invited. The Fairfield Career and Technology Center is 790 U.S. Highway 321 Bypass South, Winnsboro, South Carolina.