New Hanover County Schools




Career and Technical Education Month: A Student’s Perspective

- Thomas Jones, SEA-Tech Senior


SEATech Logo in lobby of school

When I started Southeastern Area Technical High School (SEA Tech) as a freshman, I intended to become a doctor. The cost of medical school and college is expensive, and I saw SEA Tech as an opportunity to offset the cost of tuition. This goal was shared by many of the first 42 students of the inaugural 2017 SEA Tech class. In the past four years, many things have changed and evolved at Sea-Tech: the school has grown, the staff has increased, and our location is no longer shared halls on a community college campus but a spacious school building. This journey of growth has allowed the Sea Dragon family to grow along with the school. 

In the tumultuous world of the pandemic, SEA-Tech has provided stability. After changing my intended career path countless times, guidance, support, and one-on-one experiences have been fundamental to my success. I’ve found pathways through volunteer opportunities and internships with NHCS-TV. This path is not one I saw myself taking, but through these hands-on experiences, my career goals have led me to a career in journalism.  
SEA Tech’s rigorous and flexible program allowed me to access remote instruction during my junior year. Little did I know that this experience would prepare me to be a successful and independent student when the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined our education system. While some families struggle to manage online learning under Plans C & B, my online CTE coursework gave me the skills to maintain that level of success in the pandemic. 
Now, all my classes are college courses. When I enter a four-year university this fall, I will do so with nearly a year and a half work of college credit. That is tangible proof of the valuable opportunities at SEA Tech and entering the impact CTE pathways can have on a student’s academic and financial success.
For students looking to get a head start on their future, be the first in their family to receive a college education, or receive a certification to go directly into the workplace, .Career and Technical Education is a great option. Whether enrolled at SEA Tech or any of the four traditional high schools, students in the CTE pathway program will graduate prepared for the next phase of their life. My CTE experience helped me establish my career direction, provided me with tight-knit community support, and gave me a head start on my bachelor's degree.