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Ceres middle school students looking to the future

Ceres High teachers visited Mae Hensley Junior High on Thursday to tell eighth-graders about electives available in high school.  Ceres High teacher Lori Konschak talks about independent living.
Ceres High teachers visited Mae Hensley Junior High on Thursday to tell eighth-graders about electives available in high school. Ceres High teacher Lori Konschak talks about independent living. Modesto Bee

High school has a lot more than academics to offer, several Ceres High School teachers explained to eighth-graders at Mae Hensley Junior High on Thursday.

Students spent one class period learning about electives they could take next year when they hit high school. They'll start choosing classes next week.

Four Ceres High teachers spoke about computer drafting, independent living, agriculture shop and other offerings that help students build job skills and provide a break from schedules heavy on core academics such as math and English, said Bruce Scott, chairman of the high school's industrial arts department.

"They give the kids a chance to do a little exploring," he said. "Not everybody's going to be a professor at a university. This way, they'll have some kind of skill. When they graduate, they'll be able to make $15 an hour instead of minimum wage."

Most kids don't have room for even one elective as they try to keep up with academics, Scott said, but the high school has considered revamping the schedule to change this given the increasing emphasis on electives, which can be crucial to job success. Credits students earn in the industrial arts program count as credits at Modesto Junior College, for example.

"They think four years down the road is light-years away," he said. "But this could be an occupation for their future."

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