Edgewood Academy eighth-grader Anthony Padilla listened intently through a small earpiece linked to a radio made of paper rolls, aluminum foil, wires and paper clips to catch the faint broadcast of a radio station picked up by the student-made project.

Anthony and 20 of his peers from Edgewood Academy and Torch Middle School built radios, assembled car engines, launched rockets, learned First Aid and explored coding through the popular Minecraft game as part of Rio Hondo College’s annual CTE Academy, held from July 18 to 22.

“I liked the structure of the program,” Anthony, 12, said. “They gave us the tools and we get to make and build our ideas.”

This was the first cohort of Bassett Unified middle school students to participate in the program, which has been offered for six years to area school districts to explore science and technology fields.

The weeklong program focused on three career fields: Energy and utilities, information technology and transportation. Within those areas, students explored automotive technology, radio construction and transmission, solid-fuel rockets, structural design, health science and coding by creating “mods” in Minecraft.

Students were able to hone their college and career choices through what they learned in the different courses. Torch Middle School student Dulce Andrade plans to be a veterinarian and was inspired by the health science modules.

“The First Aid classes help me realize that I really do like taking care of things,” Dulce, 11, said. “Even though the focus was on helping people, I still want to help animals.”

Students presented their projects on the final day of the academy, toured the Rio Hondo campus, listened to a college student panel, and began thinking about what college or university they would like to attend.

“Rio Hondo’s CTE Academy was a great opportunity for our students to create projects relevant to career fields they may be interested in,” Superintendent Alex Rojas said. “The District is focused on boosting our curriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, along with career and technical pathways that will help guide our students in making decisions about their future.”


072916_BASSETT_CTSUMMER1: Edgewood Academy students Juan Carlos De Jesus (left) and Anthony Padilla (right) take turns listening to radio stations whose signals are being captured by a hand-made radio created during Rio Hondo College’s annual CTE Academy.

072916_BASSETT_CTSUMMER2: Bassett Unified School District middle school students learn how to code through the popular game Minecraft, during Rio Hondo College’s annual CTE Academy.