East St. Louis Senior High School Hosts Open House

September 2019 — The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program at East St. Louis Senior High School hosted an Open House Hair and Car Show on Saturday, September 14 to highlight student achievements and the exciting CTE opportunities available to the community. Nearly 200 people attended the event and seventeen cars entered the car show. The top 3 entrants received trophies and each car received a commemorative dash plaque.  You can watch coverage of the event by channel 5 here.

Though a college degree is often viewed as an essential component on a resume, many employers need hires with specific skills that can be identified through industry-recognized certifications rather than post-secondary degrees. Students in East St. Louis Senior High School’s CTE Program gain relevant, work-based experiences that prepare them for industry trades. Program areas include audio-visual, automotive, construction trades, cosmetology, culinary, electrical trades, nursing and welding.

Blake Zettler is a senior in the welding program at East St. Louis Senior High School.  As a student in the CTE program, he has already earned eight American Welding Society (AWS) weld certificates while welding plate steel. With these achievements under his belt, he is focused on mastering new skills: His next challenge will be welding pipe. Pipe welds are traditionally inspected by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Blake’s welding instructor and mentor, David Koleson, believes it is very possible that his star pupil could graduate with welding certificates from two different weld-sanctioning bodies – the AWS and ASME.  Both are recognized as the industry standard for their respective weld disciplines in structural and pressure piping. 

Many regional employers are looking for students like Blake Zettler. Employers recognize the value of CTE in preparing students for high-wage, high-skill, and in-demand occupations. The certifications Blake has received will catapult his employability after graduation. Pipe welding credentials typically net the top pay in the welding field. Blake could graduate from high school and immediately earn $70,000/year based on his skill level and earned industry-recognized certifications.  

CTE Director Dekietrich Lockett noted, “Blake is a highly skilled and competent welder.  He has become adept and this year will master skills that many established welders do not know.”  Lockett added, “My job this year is to connect him to employers so his skills are maximized in the region after graduation.  He is ready.”

The Career and Technical Education Program’s Open House Hair and Car Show took place on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 12 to 6 p.m. at 4901 State Street in East St. Louis. The Open House featured tours and students, such as Blake, showcasing their area of expertise.  Cosmetology students provided a Hair Show. There was a 50/50 drawing, dash plaques, DJ, door prizes, food, games and many activities for the whole family to enjoy.