Future TCAT students celebrate ‘signing day’
Caleb Arnold, one of 18 students including six from Bedford County, signs a letter of intent to attend Tennessee College of Appliede Technology-Shelbyville during National CTE Letter Of Intent Signing Day on Thursday. T-G Photo by John I. Carney
February 24, 2020 By JOHN I. CARNEY ~ email@example.com at Times-Gazette newspaper in Bedford County
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville held a local observance of National CTE Letter Of Intent Signing Day.
The event, sponsored nationally by the National Coalition of Certification Centers, aspires to draw attention to career and technical education (CTE) programs through a “signing day” ceremony similar to the ones held by colleges when they recruit star high school athletes.
A total of 18 TCAT-Shelbyville students, including six from Bedford County high schools, participated in the event, signing letters of intent to attend TCAT, posing for photos in front of a special signing day backdrop and receiving ball caps, much as they might if they were accepting an athletic scholarship. The event was live-streamed and posted to social media. TCAT-Shelbyville President Laura Monks welcomed and congratulated her future students.
But these students won’t be hitting home runs, kicking goals or scoring touchdowns. They’ll be repairing industrial machinery, caring for patients, securing computer networks, or performing other real-world skills taught at TCAT-Shelbyville and its satellite campuses.
Keynote speaker Dr. Terry Mimms of Snap-On Tools said it’s “the makers and the fixers” who enable society to function. Mimms himself studied in trade school and worked in automotive repair.
Mimms, a resident of Gallatin, told the assembled students that they’ve made a wise choice by planning to enroll in TCAT-Shelbyville.
“I love this place,” he said. “You have chosen a gem of a place to come to school.”
Bedford County students who participated in the event were:
•Damon Williams, Shelbyville Central High School, who plans to study information technology/infrastructure management;
•Caleb Arnold, SCHS, industrial maintenance automation;
•Grayson Cook, SCHS, industrial maintenance automation;
•Kayson Cunningham, SCHS, industrial maintenance automation;
•Jonathan Young, Cascade High School, welding technology; and
•Abigail Jennings. Cascade, practical nursing.
The ceremony was held at the Duck River Electric Membership Corp. auditorium on Madison Street, right next door to the main TCAT campus. TCAT-Shelbyville is currently proposing to build a replacement campus on a parcel in 231 North Business Park, where it would be able to have a symbiotic relationship with nearby industries and health care facilities, such as providing specialized training as requested by an industry. State officials have indicated some support for the proposal, but it remains to be seen how quickly it can be funded and whether the move from Madison Street to U.S. 231 North will have to be broken down into phases.
The statewide network of TCAT faciities is part of the Tennessee Board of Regents system, along with the state’s community colleges.