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Chatham Central’s ‘Tasty Tuesdays’ a featured flavor on district’s career menu

BEAR CREEK — Out of a commercial-quality kitchen tucked inside Chatham Central High School is where students have been mixing ingredients for Tasty Tuesday lunches that they deliver to teachers in between classes.

“We prepare a meal — and we serve it to them on Tuesdays — which is only $5, which is a really cheap meal for staff,” Chatham Central sophomore Dariana Benitez-Manjarrez said.

The food is reasonably priced. The experience the students are getting in Everett Goldston’s classroom is invaluable. And that, in a nutshell, is the goal of the Chatham County Schools Career Technical Education (CTE) Program — real experience toward real careers, according to Robin Stevens, one of the district’s CTE instructional-management coordinators.
Culinary-arts students at Chatham Central High School prepare meals for the staff there.
CTE is not a backup plan for students having trouble in the classrooms, Stevens said. It’s in place as a primary option for students who, for example, don’t want to be medical doctors yet like the idea of working in the medical field, CTE instructional management coordinator Geraldine Kirk explained. CTE courses could lead students toward both high-paying and in-demand careers as X-ray technicians, for example, Kirk said.

Students can leave Jordan-Matthews High School in Siler City as certified nursing assistants, saving both time and money in that career path.

In Pittsboro, the budding entrepreneurs in Rick Parks’ class have been running a virtual business that even has a student in charge of human resources.

The district’s CTE programming offers students the exploratory space that can help them make informed decisions about both what and where to study after high school, said Kelly Batten, the district’s executive director for secondary programs and CTE.

CTE programming in the district starts at the middle school level, but parents of students in elementary school should go ahead and begin those career conversations, Stevens said.

EXPLORE MORE: Listen to Chatham Central High School culinary artist Dariana Benitez-Manjarrez describe her award-winning moment: