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Image of a student in uniform working on an electrical circuit board.

Averill Park High School junior Austin Millette demonstrates a circuit board troubleshooting project he is working on.

Some of the best endorsements for Career & Technical Education (CTE) come from parents. When a young person comes home from school talking excitedly about math and safety, something special is happening.

Austin Millette is a first year HVAC student at Rensselaer Educational Center (REC) from Averill Park High School. To say he loves CTE is an understatement. “I go home every night and tell my parents about what I did that day. I get so excited about telling them what I did in class, I actually remember the details better,” Millette says.

His excitement about his coursework is evident as he speaks about it.

“Currently we are working on circuit boards and troubleshooting issues that our teacher purposely creates so we can find the problem and fix it. I love that – we learn from the bottom up about why something doesn’t work. And Ohm’s Law? Don’t get me started talking about Ohm’s Law. It’s fun to me.”

Austin’s dad, Adam South, concurs. South, a technology shop teacher at Lansingburgh High School says Austin indeed comes home every night excited about what he’s doing in HVAC.

“He loves CTE – it’s the best thing that’s happened to him. He loves hands-on work and he’s clearly engaged. This is how he learns best. I love to see Austin so excited about school.”

South also pointed out CTE programs like Questar III’s have evolved over time.

“BOCES programs are nothing like they were 20 years ago. More people need to know about these opportunities.”

February is CTE Awareness Month. Father and son’s enthusiasm couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Austin is so proud of what’s he learned already and it’s only the middle of his first year. He already has a summer job lined up where he’ll be able to use what he has learned about refrigeration. I am so proud of him and thrilled he is doing something he loves,” South says.

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