February is Career & Technical Education (CTE) Month. Students in CTE classes at Washougal School District gain hands-on job experience with project-based curriculum created in partnership with area industry professionals. To kick off Career & Technical Education Month, we are highlighting recent CTE achievements and upcoming events at Washougal High School.

Student uses square to mark 2x4 during construction competition

WHS Students Forge Futures, Practice Skills at Regional Welding Competition 

On January 31, Washougal High School students joined peers representing 12 different high schools across Southwest Washington at the SkillsUSA Regional Welding Competition in Kelso, Washington. 

This annual welding competition puts job readiness skills learned in the classroom to the test. “Seeing these students apply their learning in a competitive environment not only tests their abilities but also prepares them for the real-world challenges they’ll face in the welding industry. It’s inspiring to see how these young welders take on complex tasks with such precision and dedication,” said Don O’Brien, metal arts teacher at Washougal High School. Washougal High School sent three student competitors, 11th grade students Gavan McCallister, Gage Leavitt, and Noah Wheeler.

Welding is one of many Career & Technical Education courses offered at Washougal High School. Career & Technical Education courses center hands-on job-readiness learning to prepare students for jobs in high demand career fields. 

WHS Students Competed in SkillsUSA Regional Carpentry Competition

Congratulations to Washougal High School students Gage Leavitt (6th place), Gavin McCallister (8th place), Micah Phillips (10th place), Luke Livengood (14th place), Noah Wheeler (15th place), and Charles Mickes (18th place) for demonstrating hands-on skills at the SkillsUSA Regional Carpentry Competition on January 19, 2024. The event was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute (PNCI) in Portland, Oregon.
Student uses tape measure to mark 2x4 during construction competition

Shoug Shack Serves Up Fresh Meals, Hands-On Learning at Washougal High School

Students at Washougal High School will serve up their first meals out of the Shoug Shack, a student-run food truck, on February 16. This groundbreaking moment turns the school’s parking lot into an active mobile learning lab for the first time since the food truck’s official ribbon cutting last school year. 

This hands-on culinary classroom presents opportunities for high school students to apply academic skills like math and writing in a hands-on setting while also practicing entrepreneurship, culinary skills, customer service, time management, teamwork, and other job-readiness skills.

WHS FBLA Students Make their Mark at Regional Competitions

On February 2, Washougal High School students in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competed at the Winter Leadership Conference at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington and qualified for state competitions. The conference brought together FBLA chapters from across the region, hosting student competitions in topics central to business leadership skills. 

Seven WHS students placed in 10 events at the competitions. Madeline Brock placed first place in the Word Processing event and 6th in the Introduction to Public Speaking event. Laura Perez placed 3rd place in the Journalism event. Jacob Larzalere placed 3rd place in the Introduction to Public Speaking event and 4th place in the Impromptu Speaking event. Carter Wilson placed 4th place in the Personal Finance event and 6th in the Health Care Administration event. Liberty Andelman placed 4th place in the Introduction to Social Media Strategy event. Angel Plaza placed 4th place in the Business Management event and Hannah Arnold placed 6th in the Advertising event.

In team events, Washougal High School students placed in three events. Laura Perez and Carter Wilson placed 5th in Broadcast Journalism. Liberty Andelman and Madeline Brock placed 6th in the Introduction to Business Presentation event. Hannah Arnold and Laura Perez placed 6th in the International Business team event.

FBLA prepares students across the country to become the business and community leaders of tomorrow. At Washougal High School, students participate in afterschool FBLA programs to develop community-minded business skills while preparing for bright future careers.

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez Visits Washougal High School Job Readiness Program

On January 24, Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) visited Career & Technical Education (CTE) classes at Washougal High School to learn about how the school is preparing students for future careers in the trades.

Get Involved with the Career & Technical Education Program at Washougal School District

Industry experts from the local community meet with program teachers and CTE program leaders, sharing current industry standards so students acquire skills that are both relevant and transferable during their high school education. Community business members are also invited to visit CTE classes as a guest speaker, or to host student industry tours. Interested in getting involved? Your professional experience can positively impact the future of our students. For more information, please contact Margaret Rice, Director of Career & Technical Education, at margaret.rice@washougalsd.org.

About CTE Programs at Washougal High School

Last year, Washougal High School students earned 827 job readiness certifications in CTE classes.  “CTE programs prepare students with tangible skills directly relevant to current industry standards,” said Margaret Rice, Director of Career & Technical Education at Washougal School District. “Job readiness certifications provide students with a competitive edge in today’s workforce.” 

CTE programs in Washougal schools provided more than 1850 student work-based learning experiences last year.  These included service learning projects, industry experts as guest speakers, and industry tours, which help students explore career pathways as they prepare to enter the workforce. In 2023, Washougal High School had an 89% on-time graduation rate, the highest on record at the school.

Despite budgetary constraints, the district has been able to maintain important job readiness programs by leveraging state CTE funding, grants, and community partnerships. Organizations like Workforce SW provide funds that let the district provide excellent, innovative programs that build the skills students need to succeed in local jobs. Washougal School District is able to offer these high quality job-readiness programs thanks to strong local community support and targeted funding sources.