There are times as a teacher, you stand back in awe of a student who is in their element, has found their passion, and there is no doubt she is where she is supposed to be. It is not always easy for students to convince their parents that Grant is the right place and to overcome stereotypes of what “Vocational Education” was. Grant Career Center and Career Technical Education is just so much more than a typical high school. Let me introduce you to a lifelong homeschooler, senior Abigail Averwater, who came to Grant Career Center her junior year. Here is her story of no regrets...
Mr. Dorsey: Tell me a little bit about the first time you had heard about Grant Career Center.
Abigail: SoI had never really heard about it from my home school because I was actually homeschooled for 11 years before coming to Grant Career Center. I heard about Grant through my homeschool co-op Days of Wonder. We had a career class and the lady doing it wanted us to go to the open house at Grant Career Center and we visited all the programs.
Mr. Dorsey: Let’s talk about being homeschooled. Had you ever attended a regular public school before attending Grant?
Abigail: Never spent a day in public school before I came to Grant. Does Grant qualify as a public school?
Mr. Dorsey: Do you have any regrets about coming to Grant?
Mr. Dorsey: Do you like it here?
Abigail: Oh yes, definitely.
Mr. Dorsey: Do you think it was a great decision?
Abigail: Definitely!, I was kinda scared, coming from an online school for 7 years and then I did a homeschool co-op which we went to 3 days a week and then did homework the other days. I wasn’t scared, I was nervous, because I didn’t know what it was going to be like, but when I came to Grant it was a pleasant surprise, all the teachers were really nice and welcoming.
Mr. Dorsey: How did you decide on your program?
Abigail: So, I chose construction technology, because I honestly come from a long line of family members who are in the construction field. So, my uncle owns his own residential construction business. My grandfather was a woodworker who owns his own shop. I got my love of making things from watching him and my father create things with their hands. I really like seeing things being made from the ground up. So that is why I chose construction.
Mr. Dorsey: What was it like being the only girl in lab?
Abigail: I honestly didn't care. I grew up hardcore tomboy... I had a bowl cut for a number of years. I grew up just being one of the guys. I made it clear from day one that no-one was to mess with me. I haven’t had any issues. My senior year, we gained a new student, so there are two girls in lab now.
Mr. Dorsey: Talk to me about the recognition you have earned so far here at Grant Career Center.
Abigail: I first heard about SkillsUSA last year of course. I heard about competitions and I really thought that this could be fun. We did the first local competition and won the local competition and went on to regionals. I had no idea what was going to happen when we went there. I ended up winning the South-Central Regional Champion of Carpentry. I ended up going to State and had a lot of fun, with a lot of great experiences. I hope to go back and clinch a medal at state. I have a lot more experience going into it this year.
Mr. Dorsey: Are you involved in your CTSO?
Abigail: I am the Local Officer and Local Treasurer for SkillsUSA and we have an amazing team. We basically rally the troops here and try and hold fundraisers so we can go on trips and help develop our skills.
Mr. Dorsey: How has your experience been with your academic teachers? Are there any that you have really bonded with?
Abigail: Last year I had a really great experience. I don’t want to say who my favorite teachers are. However, I really bonded well with Mrs. Smith and Ms. Foster and they just helped me get through it. Coming out of homeschooling, the bar was set really high at the co-op that I went to; I am not saying the academics here aren't rigorous. I am just saying that coming here was an easy transition because of how difficult some of my classes were at the co-op that I had attended.
Mr. Dorsey: What would you say to a kid who is interested in coming to Grant?
Abigail: I ask the underclassmen that I talk to, “What do you want to do when you grow up? Would you want to attend a career center?” I have had a student respond by saying that they want to be a neurosurgeon. Since I am from CNE, I asked her if they have considered going into the medical field by attending Great Oaks or attending Grant. Her response was “no.” I told her that attending Grant was a really good experience, you don’t have to pay for it, you get a lot of certifications, experience, and knowledge... the people are really great and just want to see you succeed in life
Mr. Dorsey: What did your mom and dad think when you wanted to come to Grant?
Abigail: So, my mom said that she was always going to homeschool me. You know, when I first said I wanted to go to Grant. I wanted to go to Grant since I was a freshman, when I found out about it. My parents were like, “Are you sure you want to do that?” I was like,“yeah, I want to go to Grant”. I never knew about the stereotype that's untrue, that only those kids who aren’t going to graduate or aren’t going to college go to Grant. It’s totally a myth, there are some very intelligent people here. I feel like my parents thought that and were kind of nervous letting me go. During my sophomore year, I just kept asking, “Can I go to Grant next year? I want to go to Grant next year. You think I can go to Grant next year? We should go to this open house. Mom, there is this event at Grant can we go?”. I slowly got my parents going to it.
Mr. Dorsey: What do your parents think now about Grant?
Abigail: They love it! They are so happy and see everything that Grant has done for me. My little sister, I really want her to come here next year, she really likes the Biotech and Large Animal Science Programs, she was here for sophomore days. Hopefully, Grant becomes a generational thing.
Mr. Dorsey: Let's talk about Mr. Pride, your lab instructor.
Abigail: Yes, of course. We love Mr. Pride. He has so much experience in the field that he has been in. He is such a sweet guy. He doesn’t always get students who are really into his program. So when my class came along, he was really excited. He calls our class the “A-team”. Mr. Pride really appreciates our enthusiasm.
Abigail is hardworking and a natural leader. I am excited to see what she does for a career. I think her success in life is guaranteed. - Bill Pride, Construction Technology Instructor
Mr. Dorsey: So, what's next for you?
Abigail: I have a lot of stuff that I want to do, but I don’t know if it is all going to happen. I am involved in 4-H. I plan on going into the National Guard. I also would like to do college, but I don’t want to do it right after high school. My plan as of now is to go on early placement eventually, and then join the National Guard and eventually go to basic training, but then after that go to college. My goal is to never have to pay for any education that I have to do if I am ever going to go to college it is going to be for a higher position and the company is going to pay for it.
Mr. Dorsey: You have mentioned 4-H a few times, do you want to take a moment to talk about 4-H?
Abigail: I have been in 4-Hever since Cloverbuds, which is way before you can begin showing animals.4-H is so much more than just showing animals. It helps build leadership skills and I have learned a lot of essential life skills from 4-H. I show dairy goats, pack goats, chickens, and rabbits. You can no longer just think about yourself when you have livestock and animals- you have to think, “do they have water, do they have food”, and it really helps build a lot of responsibility and respect and has even given me some lifelong friends, several of which attend Grant. 4-H is amazing and so much fun.
Abigail is a leader, she is intelligent, funny, and can swing a hammer. She is able to build things from the ground up. Grant Career Center is extremely proud of Abigail. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.
Grant Career Center hopes to highlight a wide range of our students as possible. If you would like to nominate a Grant student, past or present, to be showcased in Faces of Grant please submit your referral here.