Oklahoma CareerTech Students Gather at State Capitol

Sixty-four Oklahoma CareerTech students met at the state Capitol Feb. 21 to speak to legislators about how career and technology education helps teens prepare for careers and college.

State officers from Oklahoma CareerTech’s seven co-curricular student organizations attended the CareerTech Student Organization Day at the Capitol, visiting with legislators from their districts. Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater, recognized the students in their respective chambers.

“This day is a phenomenal way to connect our legislators with the future leaders of our state,” said Paxton Cavin, state BPA and DECA adviser at Oklahoma CareerTech. “By meeting state officers from each of the CTSOs our legislators are able to witness the positive impact CareerTech has on students from all around the state, in various fields of study, in K-12 schools and technology centers. CTSOs are changing lives on a daily basis, and Oklahoma is powered by one of the best CTSO support systems, Oklahoma CareerTech.”

For some students, like Maricela De Leon-Barrios, this was their first time to visit the Capitol.

De Leon-Barrios, a Metro Technology Centers pre-nursing student and state HOSA officer, said she was nervous and excited about the visit. She hoped to get the message out to legislators about how CTSOs teach students leadership skills and help them plan their futures, she said.

The high school junior plans to be a nurse practitioner and said her time in HOSA taught her nursing skills and helped her overcome her fear of learning new things.

The students also heard from Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Brent Haken and Oklahoma Association for Career and Technical Education Executive Director Skye McNiel before meeting with their legislators.

“It’s very important to share the importance of CareerTech,” McNiel told the students. “We are worth investing in because it’s an investment into these kids.”

CTSOs give students opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as the chance to develop skills in public speaking, planning and organizing. Members work on various community projects, competitive events and leadership activities and meet other students who share similar interests.

In FY22, more than 95,000 Oklahoma students were members of one of the seven co-curricular CTSOs: Business Professionals of America; DECA; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; FFA; HOSA; SkillsUSA; and Technology Student Association.

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