Students learn skills for future careers

Harlandale students learn IT skills, McCollum students learn culinary arts

SAN ANTONIO – The McCollum High School Cowboys and the Harlandale High School Indians square off each football season in the annual Frontier Bowl. Students from each school are also trying to discover new paths to the future in the classroom.

At Harlandale, a group of students are part of an award-winning IT department, where the students are learning to prepare computers, set up networking systems for businesses and work to improve all important cyber security.

"We are not just looking at the basic use level, we're actually going down into the system level, to the core system files, the core system basics," said Paul Rodriguez, a Harlandale senior.

That in-depth look is helping them understand the complexities of keeping hackers from taking over.

"It all goes back to how secure their networks are, how safe they are, who set them up and everything like that," Rodriguez said.

The students are in a dual-credit class. They get high school and college credit, and they can also get certain certifications. The students are trying to take advantage of the program, especially with the advancement of technology.

"It's growing immensely. The work environment is also growing immensely," said Brandon Bas, a Harlandale senior. "People need more people who understand how to secure a system."

While they are learning to secure computers at Harlandale, students at McCollum are learning to secure a place in the kitchen as a chef. About 85 students are involved in the culinary program at school.

"It's fun. It's a good experience, especially if you want to work in the food business," said Ashley Reyes, who wants to open up her own restaurant.

The students don't just create for themselves. A lot of experience comes from cooking for others, like preparing a meal for members of the McCollum ISD administration.

It can be a little nerve-wracking, but it’s all part of the process to get where they want to be.

"I like cooking. I like food. And I want to someday get a food truck, because I love to drive and I like food," said Jeremy Nichols, a junior at McCollum.

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