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Student pursues varied passions through classes

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

By day, she is a health sciences student. At night, she is learning welding.

Karis Walker, a senior attending LeCroy Career Technical Center, has enrolled in both the traditional student program and one of the night courses.

While the classes during the day are to help her prepare for a future nursing career, Walker said the welding classes she takes at night are mostly for fun.

“I just thought it would be fun,” Walker said. “I thought it would be something that I would enjoy.”

Walker said she had started thinking about enrolling in the health sciences program because she knew she wanted to work in the medical field.

“I didn’t know exactly what, but I thought this would be a good place to start,” Walker said.

The in-depth approach of the health science classes has helped her narrow down that she does want to become a nurse.

She said she has enjoyed “getting a head start in everything before college” and learning some of the necessary nursing skills.

Walker became interested in the medical field because her brother is in nursing school.

“I have always been intrigued by it,” Walker said.

As a part of the simulated workforce model that LCTC uses, Walker applied to the health sciences program during her sophomore year of high school. The selection process also included an interview.

“It’s set up like a regular job interview,” Walker said. “Why do you want to be here? Why do we want you to be here? Questions like that.”

The welding courses at night are setup for more independent work with students working on their own projects. Each course meets twice a week for 10 weeks.

Walker said she had no previous experience, but the class gave her the basics and the opportunity to build what she wanted.

“I am very independent so being able to work on things (on) my own and being able to build that stuff and see it come to fruition is really cool,” Walker said.

She said she has enjoyed “using the torch and cutting” metal.

Her current project is metal stands  for metal to set on while being welded together.

She has also enjoyed being able to fix things for people in the community.

She is the only female in the class, and many of the students are adults.

“I can get along with just about anyone,” Walker said. “They are all very helpful if I need anything.”

Initially, Walker thought about pursuing a certification in welding, but has since changed her mind. She said fixing things that needed to be welded could help her have extra money while she is attending college.

“If something falls through with nursing, I’ll have a backup,” Walker said.

Through the health sciences program at LCTC, Walker will have the opportunity to test for the patient care technician certification. This would allow her to work in a nursing home or assist a nurse. Usually the program includes clinicals at a hospital, but these could not be completed this school year because of the pandemic.

She said being a part of the programs has also taught her about “leadership and everything that goes with that, life skill with it being like an interview process” and time management.

After graduation, Walker plans on attending Jefferson State Community College for two years, and then transferring to a nursing program, potentially at Auburn University at Montgomery, Troy University or University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Taking night classes at LCTC is open to Chilton County Schools students and community members to apply to.