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College, career academy touts its focus on getting, keeping jobs
Culinary students Tiffany Swinton
Liberty College and Career Academy culinary arts student Tiffany Swinton, a Bradwell senior, waves during the LCCA Night of Excellence as visitors line up for food. Swinton and other culinary arts students prepared the food, which included punch and pastries. - photo by Tiffany King

Students of the Liberty College and Career Academy showed what made them career and college ready at the LCCA Night of Excellence last month.

Community members visited the LCCA campus and watched as students demonstrated their skills and knowledge in engineering, construction, culinary arts, teaching, nursing, nutrition, criminal justice and graphic arts.

Many students earned college credit through the dual enrollment program at the Career Academy and were on the path to becoming certified in different careers.

Wearing chef attire, culinary students greeted visitors and provided cupcakes, punch and other foods.

Criminal justice students showed how to measure the limbs of a dead body and interpret blood splatter at a crime scene.

Bradwell Institute junior Daphnie McBryde, demonstrated how to collect trace evidence while BI graduate Nathan Wallace used a blacklight to uncover hidden evidence.  

Liberty County High School senior Breanna Knott said the forensic class was fun.

Knott took an online forensic justice class from the University of Alabama and switched to the academy because she wanted more hands-on training.

Instructor Jonathan McDavid hopes the program will continue to grow and said the academy is working toward allowing students to earn an associate’s degree through the program.

Nursing students took the oxygen level and pulse readings of visitors and demonstrated how to administer chest compressions in an emergency.

Three students, LCHS graduates Deja Curry and Dionne Jenkins, and senior Shanice Dixon, said they planned to take the certified nursing assistant written and skills test with what they learned at the academy.

Curry wants to become and OBGYN. She is getting her CNA because she thinks it’s “a great foundation” in the medical field and wants to work her way toward becoming a doctor.

Jenkins wants to become a speech pathologist to make an impact in people’s lives and Dixon wants to become a pediatric nurse. Dixon likes to work with children. Her mother works at a nursing home.

In the engineering class, students learned about parallel circuits and made wooden step ladders which also serve as stools.

Welding at the academy is part of the dual enrollment program with Savannah Technical Institute. Instructor John Trimmer said Savannah Tech has partnerships with manufacturers and if he sees a student who excels he will recommend that student for a job.

Trimmer said students must have a commitment and passion for a career in welding.

Students take standard welding classes and once they get to a certain class level, Trimmer will teach specialized skills based on what a student wants to do.

Student projects have included making grills and patching panels on trucks.

If a student is interested in construction, they can leave the academy as a certified construction worker. They learn how to read blueprints, and learn site layout, wall framing and more.

At Night of Excellence students, were putting together stairs and cutting wooden panels for the steps.

Visitors were treated to smoothies, celery and peanut butter, and made non-Newtonian fluid in the nutrition classroom.

Non-Newtonian fluid, made with starch and water, acts as both a liquid and solid when pressure is applied.

There were also egg experiments on display, such as a hardboiled egg left in a cup of vinegar to see the effect. It showed the shell dissolved with the yolk and a thin film around the yolk still intact.

In the graphic arts class, students made printed T-shirts, did design work on computers and cut LCCA logo stickers.

Students in the teaching as a profession pathway discussed why they want to be a teacher and what makes an effective teacher.

Karisa Young, LCCA CEO, said she was proud of LCCA’s programs.

“We’re still surprised at how many people don’t know what LCCA does and the opportunities we have here,” Young said, “We opened it up to the community and families and invited eighth and ninth graders to see what’s available for them when they get to high school.”

The goal of LCCA is to learn the skills need to get and keep a job, Young said.

Young is looking forward to adding animation, gaming and photography to academy.

The academy has earned a $30,000 audio, technology and film grant from the Education Sports Entertainment Network. Young said the money will buy audio and video equipment and support for the pathway.

She hopes to partner with the Georgia Film Academy.

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