WHITTIER – About 100 area seventh-graders will assemble car engines, build radios, craft bridges, learn First Aid and CPR, and explore the potential of 3-D printing from July 17 to 21 during Rio Hondo College’s seventh annual CTE Academy.

The program, offered for six years, allows students from area school districts to explore science and technology career fields under the supervision of a cadre of Rio Hondo College instructors and students in Rio Hondo College’s Career and Technical Education (CTE).

“This academy is a great way for Rio Hondo College to share its expertise with students who are just beginning to consider their college and career goals,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “It’s exciting to see how these courses can help students discover their strengths.”

The academy, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, focuses on health science, engineering and automobile technology – all Rio Hondo College fields of study.

Each day includes hands-on activities. For example, in the small-engine project, students break down and assemble a car engine. Along the way, they learn electrical theory, calculations and application. In structural design, they will construct and test the strength of bridges.

The program has grown considerably since its first year, when 30 students were welcomed to Rio Hondo College’s campus. This year, the College expanded its instruction in health to three modules and added the program on 3-D printing.

The academy culminates on Friday, July 21, when the students present their projects, tour the Rio Hondo campus and receive information on college and career success.

Students hail from nine middle schools: Little Lake School District’s Lakeside and Lake Center middle schools; Mountain View School District’s Madrid, Monte Vista and Kranz middle schools; Valle Lindo School District’s Dean L. Shively Middle School; and El Rancho Unified School District’s Rivera and North Park middle schools and the STEAM academy.

“Our CTE Academy opens a window into the future for our area middle school students, helping them discover a world of possibilities,” Board of Trustees President Norma Edith Garcia said. “It’s also terrifically fun way to spend a summer week – taking apart engines, building radios and constructing bridges.”

NOTE TO MEDIA: Best times for video/photo shoots are Tuesday and Thursday, when students are actively engaged in projects. For scheduling a visit, contact Claudia Romo at the CTE Division at 562-908-3460 or Claudia.Romo@riohondo.edu.

VIDEO: Click to see a video of the 2016 CTE Academy.