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Copperas Cove 8th graders preview CCHS CTE courses

Cove Leader-Press

More than 200 Copperas Cove 8th graders were able to get a sneak peak of what opportunities await them when they start high school.

Copperas Cove Junior High School and S.C. Lee Junior High School students were invited to the Copperas Cove High School Thursday night for the Copperas Cove High School Class of 2027 Parent Night.

Junior high school students and their parents were able to check out a variety of career technology education (CTE) classrooms to learn a bit more about what the high school has to offer.

“This is an 8th grade parent night for us to go over graduation requirements and all of the different career paths so the students can get a feel for what they want to take for their 9th grade year,” said Melissa Dewald, counseling coordinator for CCHS. “The best part is that the kids and the parents can, before they start high school, get a tour, meet the teachers, and ask all the questions that they want to ask, so they’re a little more comfortable.”

Dewald said that by meeting with the teachers and asking questions they can get a better idea of whether or not they want to take a class. They also get an idea of the layout of the school and, for some classes, can even talk with students who are currently enrolled in the classes that they are interested in.

Yliris Finney, culinary arts teacher for CCHS, was one of many teachers that was on hand Thursday to talk with interested students. Several of her students from the SkillsUSA program were there as well to show off some cookies that they’d made as well as talk about how much they enjoy the culinary arts program. Many of those students had qualified earlier this month and will be competing at the state level later this year. Finney said that her goal is to keep working on making the program bigger and bigger with every year.

Morgan Camese brought her daughter, Payton Camese, an 8th grader at CCJHS, to attend the event. Camese spent most of her time checking out the medical programs that are offered at the school and said that they showed her how to draw blood at the event which she thought was very interesting. Payton said that she plans to eventually get a career in social work.

“I just like helping people,” said Camese.

Tim Smith teaches a variety of engineering and robotics courses for CCHS. Smith said that he doesn’t want students who can follow instructions, he wants students who can think, who can problem solve, and who can come up with solutions on their own. He mostly showed the potential students what his current students were working on and talked to them about his teaching philosophy.

“One of the things I believe in is that it’s not about what I can say to the students. That’s why I bring these guys in,” said Smith gesturing to some of his students who had attended the event. “These guys are excited about what they’re doing.”

Samantha Dunlap, a CCHS 11th grader in the Robotics 1 class and part of the SkillsUSA program for engineering, was one of Smith’s students on hand at the event to talk with interested students about the program as well as to show off her robotic skills. At the event, she showed off a robot, used for urban search and rescue, which was designed to search for an EOD and put it into a box. She will be programming a similar robot and competing at the state level later this year.

Dunlap encouraged others who are interested to give the program a try.

“If you really like being creative and have an idea in mind that you want to make a reality, this would be a great class for you to take,” said Dunlap.


CCHS opened its doors to incoming 8th graders to give them the opportunity to ask questions and check out the various CTE courses offered by the school.

Criminal Justice

8th graders learn a bit about criminal justice courses offered by the high school.

Culinary arts

Several culinary arts students talk about courses offered by the high school during Class of 2027 parent night on Thursday.


Samantha Dunlap shows off her robotic skills and talked to incoming 8th graders at CCHS’s 8th grader night.


Future incoming freshmen students ask questions about CCHS’s robotic and engineering classes taught Mr. Tim Smith.



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