Program inspires students to become inventors and engineers

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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VIDOR — Nell Trahan is really good at woodcarving.

The 17-year-old has carved a couple of bowls and routing on tables, as well as designed and carved out cutting boards.

She can also build tables.

Trahan’s senior project is a rustomodification workshop desk for her band director.

“Rustomodification is taking someone else’s work and adding your own touches to it,” she told Orange Newsmedia recently. “My band director needed a workspace because he currently has an L-shaped desk that multi-functions to repair instruments as well as creating music on. The desk I am creating is six feet in length to accommodate all his responsibilities. I have also made him a baton for conducting and a wood plaque.”

The desk now sits completed at Vidor High School, a testament to her skills and the real-application learning underway at the school’s CTE program.

“I know Walmart and Target need someone with that ‘safety eye,’” Trahan said. “Also, people in safety acquire well-paying jobs. On the side, I plan to continue working on rustomodification projects because I love being creative.”

Pictured is Nell Trahan’s completed desk at Vidor High School. (Courtesy photo)


Vidor High offers a variety of courses that provide certificates of completion to help students step into a career. The Career and Technology Department, also known as CTE program, offers a range of certificates that prepare the students to enter college, a career or the military.

The woodworking course, which includes Trahan, inspires students to be inventors and engineers.

They build with their hands and are exposed to learning that is different than a traditional classroom. High school students receive a NCCER certificate in the building trades for construction.

Penny Singleton, director of Vidor ISD career and technology education, said the NCCER core curriculum will help students get their feet in the door with construction companies.

“The courses have taught them how to identify and use tools, how to build stairs, OSHA safety and measurements,” she said. “Local contractors are telling us to send them students that know how to read a tape measure down to the sixteenth because people show up to a job and do not know how to do that.”

Family ties

Cameron Wriborg and Colton Bryant have a common story of working with their grandfathers, building houses during their summer breaks.

“I am from Houma, Louisiana, and my family and I moved to Vidor to take advantage of what Vidor High School has to offer its students,” said Wriborg, 18. “Houma does not have the best opportunities for students, and Vidor ISD is one of the best schools in the area.

“In the course I have learned a range of skills. From constructing buildings and building shelves and furniture to building stairs and refinishing projects. I also know safety behind and around tools, what to do if a tool breaks, but mainly how to be a competent person.”

In the past three years, Wriborg has worked on construction sites with his grandfather, Jerry Wriborg.

“I help him fix houses,” he said. “We rip the homes down to the studs and rebuild them. We also volunteer to help rebuild homes after hurricanes. This course has taught me so many new skills that I can use when I help my grandfather. I have learned how to use tools, manipulate wood and read a tape measure.”

After high school, Wriborg is joining the Army and plans to pursue the culinary arts.

“I want to make cheese,” he said. “My goal is to start my own factory like they have in Wisconsin and produce cheese.

“I hope I can make it that long. “And then afterwards, I want to go back to building or rebuilding houses.”

Bryant began helping his grandfather clean up demolition sites.

“I began helping him when I was 14,” said Bryant, 18. “I did not know anything about working with tools or safety and now I can use my skills to help him competently. This will also help me work my way through college.”

Bryant said he will study to become a chemical engineer and taking advantage of the CTE program is his way to pay for his degree.

“I feel like if someone has many skills, they will get a higher-paying position,” he said. “So, that was the thought process going into this department.

Bryant said this course offers an out-of-classroom experience and supports creative ideas.

“This course is an escape for me,” he said. “I can relieve stress as well as gain valuable skills that can help me financially.”

Bryant’s senior project is a bookshelf for his book-loving niece.

“The materials I am using are plywood and trenches,” he said. “The trenches make the project sturdy and safe.”

In the past, Bryant built a bench for his parent’s dining room table to solve a yearly problem.

“Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, not enough seating was always a problem,” he said. “The family would be split during dinner between the dining room, living room or outside. Now we can all eat together.”

If you are interested in the CTE program contact Penny Singleton at 409-951-8931.

— By Sierra Kondos