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 Digital media production juniors, from left, Evan Vazquez, Victoria Rivers, Samantha Hurst and William Cockburn are learning various aspects of production while in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium.

Digital media production juniors, from left, Evan Vazquez, Victoria Rivers, Samantha Hurst and William Cockburn are learning various aspects of production while in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium.

Photo by Deb Jacques


SMTEC celebrates 40-year anniversary

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published February 14, 2020

 Anatomy and physiology senior Amari Bennett  participates in the Southwest Macomb Technical  Education Consortium’s “Promoting WWT/SMTEC”  at Warren Woods Tower High School Feb. 11.

Anatomy and physiology senior Amari Bennett participates in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium’s “Promoting WWT/SMTEC” at Warren Woods Tower High School Feb. 11.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WARREN — Warren Woods Tower High School senior Connor Fischer has found his calling while enrolled in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, or SMTEC.

Fischer is in SMTEC’s manufacturing two-hour block class held at Lincoln High School.

“I decided I want to go into this after my dad started working in it,” Fischer said. “My counselor told me about the class at Lincoln. That class is my favorite part of the day. (When) I’m in that class, it doesn’t feel like I’m in school. It feels like I’m doing something I like doing, like a hobby.”

SMTEC, which has been educating students for years, is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. The consortium was created in 1980 as a way to provide career and technical education, or CTE, for students interested in a multitude of careers, including accounting, pharmacy technician, auto tech, culinary arts, dental assistant, marketing and medical terminology.

SMTEC is a partnership between the Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke and Warren Woods school districts that offers CTE classes to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students can enroll in the classes in another district if their home school or district does not offer the classes they select. Busing is available.

February is designated as CTE month, which gives staff and students the opportunity to publicize the program. For the second straight year, SMTEC organizers held “Promoting WWT/SMTEC” at Warren Woods Tower High School. This year’s event was held during lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 11.     
“We’re just promoting different aspects of our school,” WWT Principal Michael Mackenzie said. “For some kids, their CTE class is why they come to school. It allows them to be creative. They tend to be more hands-on.”

“It’s about giving choices so students can go on to careers,” said Steven Kay, the CTE director at SMTEC. “Sometimes it’s about figuring out what you don’t like that helps get you to do what you like.”

Kay and students have been giving presentations about the program at various school board meetings in Warren this month. CTE students also are being recognized in class throughout the month by giving them the opportunity to win a Kindle Fire.

Kay said SMTEC just received state approval to offer computer programming in the consortium next fall. He also said the CTE teachers work in the field before they begin teaching in the classroom.

WWT juniors William Cockburn, Victoria Rivers, Samantha Hurst and Evan Vazquez were among the students from the digital media production program at the Feb. 11 showcase. In class, the students use various pieces of equipment to create stop-motion projects, story-oriented videos, advertisements and more.

According to Hurst, next semester the students will produce live news programs regarding school and community events. The digital media production students enrolled in the program for various reasons.

“It’s just the creativity,” Rivers said about why she likes it.

“I like that it’s hands-on,” Hurst said. “It’s working with professional equipment. It’s what I want to do as a career choice.”

WWT junior Jada Kavalar is enjoying SMTEC’s computer-aided design, or CAD, class. CAD is the use of computers to create 2D and 3D designs to aid in the creation, modification, analysis or optimization of a design.

“I like my teacher. He’s got a great personality,” Kavalar said. “I feel if the student likes the teacher, then the class is going to be fun.”

Kavalar said she plans to attend Macomb Community College when she graduates from WWT.

“I’ll most likely transfer to do something that involves more CAD,” she said.

SMTEC’s cosmetology program also was represented at last week’s “Promoting WWT/SMTEC.” WWT senior Geneya Moore and junior Destiny Jackson distributed information and answered questions about the program. The students said they have learned how to do braids, fingerwaves, manicures, updos, and how to use curling irons, flat irons and more.

“I love doing it,” Moore said. “I love doing curls with a curling iron and flat iron. I want to do more, not just hair.”

“We learn a lot of different techniques,” Jackson said. “It’s fun. You meet new people and make friends.”

According to a SMTEC cosmetology brochure, the class is a two-year commitment, “junior and senior division.” Students are in class for a total of 1,500 hours.

Drafting, heavy equipment technology, welding, business management, law enforcement and graphic communications are among the many other CTE classes offered. For more information on SMTEC, visit www.smteccte.org.

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