Candy Douglas, Community High School, Nevada, Texas
Candy Douglas, an Education and Training Pathway and Culinary teacher at Community High School in Nevada, Texas, says that CTE changed her life when she was in high school and gave her the tools to be successful in her future. Now as an educator, she is motivated to give students as many opportunities as possible to achieve. “I grew up in a small town [like Nevada]…I want to give them the chance I was given to further myself in addition to an education. CTE really works and so many kids are successful with these types of programs,” she explains. Douglas’ goal is to give her students opportunities to further themselves by getting involved in their own education.
Douglas encourages her students to take advantage of certifications and credentialing opportunities offered to prepare them for the future including first aid, CPR and workplace safety training. She has had a workplace accident impact her personally which makes safety and health education for her students that much more important. Her son was faced with the traumatic passing of a close friend who was killed while on the job. Because of that experience, she truly believes that No Job is Worth a Young Worker’s Life, and works tirelessly to help her students continue to move forward successfully. Douglas wants her students to be prepared to handle any work situation so they will return home safely to their friends and family. Including safety and health education is imperative to Douglas because incidents do happen on the job and students often do not realize they are making mistakes that could potentially contribute to an accident. Douglas pushes her students to better recognize hazards and take accountability for their own safety. “At first, I was only requiring workplace safety training for my work program students, but it is for more than just kids that are already working. It’s something that every student needs,” she explains.
In addition to being prepared, these credentials improve her students’ resumes. Douglas shares that her former students return and report to be earning higher wages. “Sometimes they don’t see the impact when they are working [on the course], but they see it when they go out to get that first job.” A former student of Douglas’ is working for a major contractor in Dallas, Texas in construction and architecture. Part of his success is attributed to possessing an OSHA credential.
Douglas reveals that she continues her initiative to give her students opportunities to advance themselves by letting her students assist in building their own lesson plans which gives them valuable knowledge and practice before entering post-secondary schooling. She shares that providing her students with these experiences throughout their education gives them a new perspective on education as future teachers. Her students have gained the same passion as Douglas for giving others opportunities to succeed. Many students in the Education Pathway earn enough credit hours upon graduation to obtain an associate’s degree and have taken opportunities to stay within the school district. “We’re raising our own teachers…It’s really exciting to have them come back in a different role.”
By giving her students chances to grow in their careers, Douglas truly believes in laying a foundation for young people to be successful in life. She takes great pride in what she does for her students and uses her experiences to impact their futures.