Girl Power: Non-traditional career paths just right for some Davie students

Published 1:38 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Majesta Anderson can weld with the best of them. She’s proven that.

Ashlyn Cullipher knows her way under the hood of a vehicle.

So does Kayden Cornatzer. She also knows what it feels like to be behind the wheel of a drag racing car.

Cielo Garcia wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but a drafting class at Davie High School gave her a purpose.

All of these girls are in non-traditional career path (Careers traditionally dominated by males.) classes at the school, and all are excelling.

It makes Alyse Wooldridge proud. She’s the school’s career development coordinator, and a focus is on making sure those non-traditional career paths are available to female and male students. Some 77 percent of students at the school take career and technical education classes.

“We expose all students to all types of careers,” she said. In addition, local companies let her know they’re always looking for non-traditional employees.

Take Cielo, for example.

Drafting classes taught by Davie Teacher of the Year Will Marrs (He’s also a product of the Davie school system.) gave her a purpose. She never had confidence in any of her school work.

“I really like doing my nails, but my hands are really shaky,” she said. “I thought, I need something to hold my finger steady.”

So, with the help of Marrs and with feedback from classmates, she designed and built via a 3D printer a device that can hold the finer steady while the nail is being painted.

It took three or four tries, but she got it right.

“I didn’t understand this at first, but now I realize this is something I really want to do. Mr. Marrs is the first teacher who has had any confidence in me to do anything. I really feel like I have a purpose and I can express myself.”

Cielo, of Mocksville, is the daughter of Natalie and Antonio Garcia.

Sophomore Majesta is an award-winning welder, bringing home first in the regionals and 12th in the state with her butterfly creation. She took welding and is an automotive technology student. She knew her dad welded on the job, so she thought she would try it.

“It was kind of boring at first because I felt like I already knew it,” she said. “I just took to it.”

Majesta likes to create works of art, and hopes to attend the prestigious Tulsa Welding Academy after high school. She’ll take welding through Davidson-Davie Community College next year.

She remembers that award-winning butterfly. Students were shown heaps of scrap metal, and had to pick out the pieces and weld their creation together. “I saw the pieces and it just fell into place, more than I thought they would,” she said of the design.
“Blood, sweat and tears went into that project. I cut myself so many times.”

“It’s fun. The experience we get here is awesome. We can all do our own things, whatever you’re best at or want to do.”

She is the daughter of Marty and Danielle Anderson.

Ashlyn drives a ‘98 Jeep Cherokee, so taking an automotive technology class seemed like a natural fit. “You never know when you might be stranded on the side of the road.”

“I want to learn how to work on my own Jeep at home,” she said. “I know how to change a tire, and I can do an oil change.”

It took a while, but the boys in the class now realize she can hold her own while working on vehicles. “Most of the guys say they’re intimidated by me, but I’m not intimidating at all. I’ve been thinking of going to UTI (Universal Technical Institute) and taking their courses,” she said.

Ashlyn is the daughter of Brian and Amanda Cullipher of Advance.

Kayden, a sophomore, knew a thing or two about cars when she enrolled in automotive technology. After all, she’s been racing drag cars since age 9. Her brother also races. So does her father.

“I love hands-on things, especially putting things together,” she said. “I knew more than most of the boys when we started, but we’re learning new stuff.”

She especially likes Farmington Dragway, and hopes to continue racing later in life. “I like the competition against all the boys,” she said.

“I hope to continue racing and become an elementary teacher, and hopefully play golf in college.”

She is the daughter of Christy and David Cornatzer of Advance.

Reagan Poole has a car that smells really good, all thanks to a device she created in drafting class.

She said her mother uses air freshener beads when she vacuums their house to make it smell better. Reagan thought the same could work for her vehicle, so she went to work designing a device that would hold the beads and attach to vents on the air system.

“My car smells good,” she said. “My dad said if I wanted to sell some, he could get me some customers.”

Reagan plans on becoming a paramedic and nurse, but said the drafting class has opened her eyes to other possibilities.

“Just have fun and don’t stress too much,” she said. “If you have an idea, tell Mr. Marrs and he’ll help you.”

She is the daughter of Melissa and Chris Klutz and Damian and Crystal Poole.

Sydney Shook also took drafting “for fun,” but found it more educational than she ever imagined.

She explained how she and other class members made a roller assembly, a part of a machine that had multiple moving parts that had to fit together perfectly. “It can be confusing, you have to use the right commands.”

The senior encourages other students to try career classes that may be out of their comfort zone.

“Try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to continue, but you can learn something and have a little fun.”

She will attend Mitchell Community College, and hopes to study biology at UNC Charlotte. She is the daughter of Shawna Jusko and Chris Shook.

Gracie Wilson decided last year she wanted to take all of the career classes she could at Davie High.

“I’m planning to become an engineer, hopefully a mechanical engineer,” she said. “I love drafting so much, and building and designing things.”

She will attend Southern Wesleyan on a volleyball scholarship, and be dually enrolled at Clemson University. She is the daughter of Kelly and Matt Wilson.

The Davie High experience is something she will never forget.

“The people here, and how the teachers care about you a lot and will do anything for you is what makes this place special.”