RUTLEDGE – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee visited Grainger High School (GHS) to tour its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program Wednesday, May 4.
Lee was met by a group of individuals from Grainger County School System, including Interim Director of Schools Mark Briscoe, Interim GHS Principal Chad Tate, CTE Counselor Amanda Johnson, GHS teacher Tara Collins and District 1 Board of Education member Norma Tate. Tennessee District Attorney for the 4th District Jimmy Dunn, Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd, Grainger County Sheriff James Harville and others were also in attendance.
Lee toured several classes in GHS’ CTE program and spoke to students about the importance of CTE and vocational classes. He acknowledged students who had questions and gave them the opportunity to shake his hand and take photos with him.
Lee said, “I have a particular love for vocational, technical and agriculture education. My background was in the ag business and in school trade. So I believe that we need to give young people all across the state more opportunity to access opportunity to pathways of vocational, technical and agriculture education.”
He said students at GHS are receiving those opportunities.
CTE classes are considered non-traditional education, according to Chad Tate. The program features courses in architectural and engineering design, agriculture, auto mechanics, welding, cosmetology and fine arts, among other courses.
“These are the kinds of things that we envisioned when we created the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education Act. We have put significant funding this year in the budget to expand these programs, million dollar grants in virtually every high school across the state. We want to give young people in this state an opportunity to find their best life and to find success through pathways of interest to them, whether it’s through cosmetology or diesel mechanics or agriculture,” said Lee.
Chad Tate said faculty, staff and students at GHS were excited about the Governor’s visit.
He said, “We were very excited to have the Governor on campus, and I thought it was great how he interacted with our students. The CTE program, in general, we’re very proud of that and what we can offer the students.”
He said CTE and vocational education are important to Lee.
“I think that’s one of the reasons he wanted to come to Grainger High, because of our program. It’s a fantastic opportunity for some of our students to learn on-the-job skills and in our CTE department, our teachers do a fantastic job with our students. Students love being in those classes.”
He said, “We came to Grainger County just to see how they’re doing it here because this is an example of what should be and can be and is happening in many places across Tennessee.”
Chad Tate said, “The CTE program is the reason a lot of kids love going to school here. It gives them a reason to be motivated to be here. We were just glad we were able to showcase that to the Governor and really, the community in general.”