This rate – which applies to students who complete a Career Pathway – exceeds the statewide graduation rate by 15.4 percentage points.
But that's more than a statistic -- it represents changed lives for thousands of Georgia students who have taken their next step thanks to CTAE. Today, meet just a few of them.
"Ever since I was little, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and seeing that the Pathway was there -- that gave me the chance to be able to experience being a teacher before I went to college and selected my major," she said.
Through her Career Pathway, Madison spent 20 hours a week doing a teaching internship, gaining firsthand experience in the classroom. She said it helped her know for sure that education was the career she wanted to pursue.
"It was definitely the best decision I ever made in high school -- choosing a Career Pathway," Madison said.
"I first joined the Technology Student Association because of its innovative nature and engaging atmosphere," Crawford said. "Nowhere else had I found such a unique organization that not only pushed you to find your limits and break them, but also encouraged failure in order to pursue success. Six years later, that still rings true. TSA has developed my problem solving and networking skills, and I've been able to use them in school as well as in everyday life. Because of TSA, I have developed a wider perspective of social and cultural interactions in the context of learning to live in a technical world, and I plan to pursue a career in international law."
TSA is a Georgia CTSO -- an organization that provides motivation, leadership training, and career development opportunities for students enrolled in CTAE programs in middle and high schools.
At Lowndes, Ethan participated in the Technology Career Pathway, which prepared him to succeed at Georgia Tech.
"I derived the most use from the pathway when I engaged with other groups and individuals outside the Technology lab," he said. "Many of the projects I worked on necessitated communicating and coordinating with school administration and community figures. In this environment I was able to practice the professional interactions that are vital to success at Georgia Tech."
“Technology is a growing field, and you never run out of things to do – you never run out of things to learn,” she said.
DeAndria said she’d tell a high school student deciding whether to pursue a Career Pathway to “go for it”.
“There are so many doors and opportunities that they should take advantage of,” she said. “This is the last thing I thought would happen – it’s crazy how things fall into place when you pursue something that’s meaningful to you.”
Thanks to dual enrollment and the Agricultural Mechanics Career Pathway at Southeast Bulloch High School, Jake found a perfect career fit in the electrical industry – and was able to get started right away.
In addition to his grandfather, Jake – who’s been on the President’s List for the past several semesters at OTC – credits his ag teacher at Southeast Bulloch with helping him discover his talent for electrical work.
“My ag program meant a lot to me, and the Pathway I took meant a lot,” Jake said. “It’s taken me farther than I really would’ve imagined.”
“When you have been working toward a goal for four years and you finally achieve it, it is a feeling that is out of this world,” Shivers said. “It feels great.”
Candidates for admission to West Point must apply to the Academy and receive nominations from their representative in Congress, their two U.S. Senators, and the Vice President of the United States. After the application process, approximately 1,300 cadets are chosen to enter the Academy in July.
Troup High School Senior Master Sergeant Kevin Jefferson said Shivers was a “stellar performer” in his Career Pathway.
“His selection at West Point does not come as a surprise for us because he has been a stellar leader,” Sergeant Jefferson said. “We anticipate him doing very well at the Academy.”
Now an officer for the Conyers Police Department, Will said the Public Safety Pathway at RCA gave him a base of knowledge in subjects like case law and law enforcement tactics.
“It helped me get prepared to jump into a law enforcement career as soon as I got out of high school,” Will said. “My classes gave me a lot of knowledge that helped me out through the police academy, because we’d already studied a lot of things that officers deal with on a daily basis.”
Will praised the collaboration between RCA, the Conyers Police Department, and the Rockdale County Sherriff’s office.
“It’s amazing how well they work together,” he said. “We’re still pulling employees from RCA in our department.”