Should I Dual Track??

Dual Tracking

Kylie Griep, AOIT Intern

A big thing about AOIT is the two different course paths you can take. On one side, there is the Programming track, where you take courses like Programming I, Programming II, SAS Programming, and AP Computer Science. On the other side, you can take the Web Development track, where you take courses like Multimedia and Web Design, E-Commerce I, and Business Advanced Studies. However, if you are like me, both might appeal to you.

Coming in as an AOIT Freshmen, I kind of already knew I wanted to take both tracks because the year before, my brother joined the AOIT program and he ended up dual tracking so I knew the gist of it. Even so, there were a lot of things to consider before committing to dual tracking.


  • Space in your Schedule:

If you want to dual track, you need to have space in your schedule for it. Dual Tracking means you may not have room to take all year (both fall and spring semester) electives because of conflicts. Things like band, languages, and some art classes can cause conflicts because you may have to take one class in the fall semester then another in the spring semester.

Personally, I had a lot of trouble with this when I got to my Junior year. Most colleges require at least two classes of a foreign language and I wanted to take German. The problem was that I needed to take E-Commerce, SAS Programming, and AOIT English III Honors in the first semester, as well as, I really wanted to take Art III (so I could get into Art IV/AP Art in my senior year). This meant I had no room for German I. After being rejected once and a lot of emails to my counselor, I ended up being able to take German I and German II online. An important note here is that previously, you could take any online class with North Carolina Virtual Public Schools (NCVPS). However, starting my junior year (2017-2018 school year), they had it changed up the so you could only take online classes that were not offered at the school or that you needed to graduate. It all worked out in the end but you should still be careful and know what classes you will want to take in the future.


  • About the Web Development Track:

In the Web Development Track, you will be required to take Programming I, Multimedia and Web Design, E-Commerce I, and Business Advanced Studies. Programming I is required by both tracks but I put it here because it is a good way to see if you have a hidden passion for programming. The thing about this is if you take the Web Development track, you will be taking the Programming I class when the Programming track is taking Programming II. This would make it very hard to switch to the other track if you wanted to. However, if you dual tracked and realized you didn’t like programming, you can just drop that track and stay in the Web Development Track. I took this track mainly because I am a very artistic person and this is definitely the more visually creative of the two tracks.

In your sophomore year, you will take Multimedia and Web Design as your first class (not including Programming I) on the Web Development track. You get to learn software programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Website development using HTML/CSS, and Video editing software. In your junior year, you will take E-Commerce and go more in depth into Website Development using HTML/CSS and learn about business online. Finally, during your senior year, you will take Business Advanced Studies where you will learn a new website design software called Dreamweaver and work on creating a Senior video for your AOIT class. (learn more about Programming I under the “About the Programming Track” section)



  • About the Programming Track:

Within the programming track, you will be required to take Programming I, Programming II, SAS Programming, and AP Computer Science. When I first came in, I originally took this track because my brother really enjoyed the classes when he came through before me. I had zero programming experience beforehand so it was definitely new to me, but overall I am really glad I took this path because I found another passion here with programming and it gave me a very logical mindset to go with my already creative mindset.

During your sophomore year, you will take Programming I, which is required by both tracks, and it is a great way to learn if the Programming track is for you. You will learn Visual Basic in this class and the main thing about programming languages is, once you have learned one, if you want to learn another it is very easy. By learning one programming language, you learn the basic logic towards a lot of other programming languages and plus the syntax (how you write the code) is, in most cases, very similar as well. In the next semester of your sophomore year, you will take Programming II, which builds off the general programming logic you learned in Programming I but instead of learning Visual Basic, you will be learning C#. Like I said before, it is a fairly easy transition between the two languages but the part that most people struggle with is the logic. You learn a LOT more on the logic side which can be intimidating, but like any other class, if you study and learn the material you will be more than fine. When you get into your junior year, you will take SAS Programming I and compared to Programming II, I felt this was a breeze. Before I had said the syntax was in most cases very similar, well this is one of those cases where it isn’t quite the same. That doesn’t mean it was too difficult to learn though. Lastly in your senior year, you will get to AP Computer Science. In this class you will learn Java (which is completely different than Javascript). I haven’t taken this class yet but I have heard that it is very similar to C# in Programming II.



  • Seeing what you like:

One of the benefits of Dual Tracking is that you always have the option to switch out of one track and just take the other. Say you decide to take the programming track and you are in Programming II and you realize you don’t want to take the programming track any more. It will be difficult to switch because you will have to take Multimedia before you can get to E-Commerce and you might not have room to switch out of the class or it might be a little too late. Or say you were taking the web development track and you experienced Programming I and loved it but you are taking it in the second semester when the programming track is taking Programming II. By now if you decided to dual or switch tracks it may be hard to fit in all your required class for the track because you are behind. If you had dual tracked in the beginning, you can always try out both of the tracks and when you start taking them, you may realize you love both or you hate one or the other. But this way, it gives you more wiggle room if you wanted to drop one track and only take the other.


Dual Tracking allowed me to meet a lot of new people from both tracks because I wasn’t put into classes with only half of AOIT. So in the fall when you are deciding which track you want to take, consider the option of dual tracking because you never know what you might love or hate!


Why is Communication Important? 6 Major Tips!

Written By Shawn Beekman // Apex High AOIT class of 2018

Communication used to be essential for survival in the wild. Being warned of incoming danger through verbal or nonverbal communication could be the difference between life and death. Today it’s not as extreme but if you want people to trust, respect, and understand you clearly, it is essential that you master the art of communication. Here we go over some tips to help improve your communication so you can succeed in any career path:

1. Listening

Listen to hear what they’re saying, show interest, and further the conversation.

Communication is an “exchanging of information or news”. This means there are two sides to the exchange: talking and listening. Listening shows respect, interest, and allows you to understand what the other person is saying. Whenever you talk you want to be responding to what the other person is saying to further the conversation and further the understanding. It’s important to focus on them while they are speaking and what they are saying. It helps to repeat the words they say in your head and looking at them so you don’t get distracted. While it is important to think before you speak, it is more important that you hear everything they have to say. Don’t keep a response in bouncing around your head and say it as soon as they stop talking because then you just missed everything they were saying by thinking about what you were going to say.

2. Body Language

Have good body language to show interest, be more likeable, and engaged.

Your body language subconsciously has tells which let the other person know how you are reacting to the interaction. Facing towards them, looking them in the eyes, nodding your head, smiling, and standing up straight are things you should be doing to show you are interested – the other person will feel respected and understood. Turning away from them, not showing eye contact, negative face expressions, and slouching are signs that you don’t want to be in the conversation and make them feel disrespected. It’s important to identify how your body language comes off to other people and how other people’s body language reacts to you to gauge how well the conversation is going.

3. Think Before You Speak

Think before you speak to collect your thoughts and better convey ideas.

The major key to speaking clearly and getting your point across is rehearsal. With enough time anyone can figure out the perfect way to change their wording to get a point across and the best way to do that is rehearse it in your head or write it out. Before you engage the conversation it’s helpful to play out how it will go, how they will react to what you say, and how you will react to that, etc. because the conversation flows better when you already know what to say and you can figure out how to convey your point.

4. Confidence

Be confident because it makes you more likeable, reliable, and trustworthy.

The most important skill anyone can have is confidence. Confidence is walking into a room and not caring what other people think of you, you feel comfortable or confident in yourself to function normally without worrying about what people think. Arrogance is walking into a room and expecting everyone likes you. There is a fine line between being confident in yourself – being able to perform at your maximum ability – and thinking you are a gift to humanity. Confidence undoubtedly shows in your presence, body language, and attitude when talking and sells you to be more respectable and trustworthy. This makes a huge difference in how you come across to people and how they treat you.

5. Open-Mindedness

Be open-minded because it makes you more likeable, knowledgeable, and aware of different perspectives.

People have their own opinions and nobody likes to be told they’re wrong. Understand that even when you think or know you are right that you shouldn’t argue with someone or call them stupid for being wrong because that ruins your personal image. Being open to new ideas and other’s opinions also means you are more well-rounded and able to see things from different perspectives, which is important to making important decisions.

6. Build A Connection

Build connections with people to have friends, conversations, and earn favors in the future.

People have all the power in the world in the workplace. It’s important to be friendly to people and make friendships. If you want that job, raise, or promotion you will want to be liked by the boss because they’ll be more likely to give a raise to the good worker who is friendly than the good worker who doesn’t talk to anyone and is always serious. Or on the other side, if you are the boss and want your workers to want to do work it’s important to be friendly to them and treat them well so they want to work for you and do their best work for you. If people hate their boss then they won’t give their work 100%, they’ll do 70% or 60%. Essentially you should have mutual relationships where you get what you give. There’s a middle ground with this though. Being a people pleaser is risky because you are easily abusable and will often get walked on so know your line. But being unpleasant to people will make you widely disliked.

Although some of these tips are hard to implement into your daily life it is very helpful to at least know about them and remember them occasionally. If you listen, have good body language, think before you speak, have confidence, be open-minded, and build connections then you will be way more successful than someone who doesn’t.



Doyle, Alison. “These Are the Communication Skills Employers Look For In Employees.” The Balance, 28 Nov. 17 ADAD,

Community Service Opportunities

Lately we have been flooded with invitations to give back to the community in one way or another. Below you will find the information to the events that need volunteers.

24th Annual Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival

The Town of Cary’s 24th Annual Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival is coming up on Saturday, April 29, 2017. It takes over 150 volunteers to make this festival possible and we need your help! The Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival has great opportunities for high school students age 16+, or high school students under 16 who volunteer with a parent/guardian. Additionally, there are opportunities to volunteer in pairs and groups, allowing for great team building.


Click here to access the sign up. If you want to tell anyone else about this sign-up, ask them to search “Spring Daze Volunteers” at for the link.


Slots are available Fri. 4/28 and Sat. 4/29 in durations ranging from two to four hours. Feel free to sign-up for multiple shifts or on multiple days.


NOTE: A mandatory volunteer training for first-time volunteers in on Sat. April 22, 2017 at 1 p.m. in the Bond Park Community Center. All first-time volunteers are required to attend or they will not be allowed to volunteer. Return volunteers are welcome to attend if they would like to listen in on this year’s changes in the festival.


Additionally, the 41st Annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival is returning this summer on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27. We know that it is hard to get in contact with schools and students over the summer, so please help me make your students aware that the sign-up for Lazy Daze will go live on Monday, July 17, 2017. This festival takes over 300 volunteers, so the support of the entire Wake County community is needed!


If you need any assistance or have questions in signing up, please feel free to reach out to me (my contact info is in the e-mail signature)!


If you would no longer like to be included on this e-mail list, please reply stating your preference.


Deirdre Lewis

Cultural Arts Program Assistant


Apex 4th annual 5K and play with Founder’s Day

Together we have brought in many sponsors and hope to have over 300 runners this year.  There are several things I would like to ask to see if you can participate in the event on April 8th.  Attached are forms etc.

It is run by the Apex Kiwanis club. These are things I hope that Apex High and the students can be a part of:

  • Need help with social media and setting up twitter/Instagram etc and getting the word out
  • The day of the race we would like a photographer and video for future marketing and web site
  • Volunteers for community service hours before/during and after the race…many opportunities
  • Would like to invite cheerleaders, stunt, band, henna club etc to be a part of the day and encourage runners
  • Get a team of runners from Apex…want to challenge Friendship?
  • Looking for sponsors
Contact Information:

AOIT NextDoor App Comments

Check out what people are saying about AOIT!

Post in Recommendations

Apex AOIT program

Christine Lennon from Haddon Hall · 1d ago

Hi, does anyone have any experience with the AOIT program at Apex High? What is the benefit of this program vs taking desired computer/programming classes separately?
Any input is appreciated!!

Shared with Haddon Hall + 73 nearby neighborhoods in Recommendations


Julia and Ram thanked Christine

Jodi Schuh from Haddon Hall · 2d ago

I have a senior and a sophomore in the program and the soft skills that they learn in the program is more valuable than anything. They learn interviewing skills, presentation skills, how to work in a group, plus the Microsoft certification and how to make a great power point. Whether you think your child is going to be in a technical field or not I think it is a great program. They also do an internship beteeen their junior and senior years that is required. The one thing that you might want to take into consideration is that they do not have as much flexibility in their schedule because there are required AOIT classes that fills up a lot of their schedule.


You thanked Jodi

Stacy Boxell from Haddon Hall · 2d ago

I have a freshman in the program, and it’s awesome. Jodi is exactly right with what she said. My daughter, at this point, doesn’t plan to have a computer or technical career. She wants to be a lawyer or actor, so the presentation skills learned here are fabulous. It’s different than taking the classes separately, because in AOIT, they assign projects across the classes. One project might have a component they work on in each of their classes…math, english, science, history, technology…so they receive a grade in each of the classes they are in that semester for the portion of the project that relates to that particular class. It’s all very integrated. Plus the program incorporates field trips for more hands-on application that your student also wouldn’t be part of just taking the classes separately. There are pluses and minuses to what Jodi mentioned about schedule flexibility. It’s true that AOIT students can’t take chorus (and band maybe?), but I think overall they have less trouble getting their schedules set as AOIT students are scheduled first. From what I hear, my daughter was lucky to get drama (and her other first choice elective) this year, as that’s another class that normally conflicts with AOIT schedules. We’re keeping our fingers crossed she can get more drama classes in the future. Either way, she has LOVED the AOIT program, and chose to do it even with the chance she couldn’t get any drama electives.


You thanked Stacy

James Devlin from Beckett Crossing · 1d ago

My son and daughter both were in AOIT. This was back in 2007. They both got a lot out of it and has been great on their job resumes. He is now a Nuclear Engineer working at a Nuclear power plant. The skills they learned will benefit them for the rest of there life’s. Go for it.


You thanked James

Darian Poliachik from Shepherds Vineyard · 1d ago

My third AOIT kid is just about to graduate. Great experience for all three. They learned how to get their resume together, how to interview (for a real paid internship they were required — and helped — to get over the summer after Junior year), and how to make presentations. They enjoyed the comraderie of having a smaller group within the big high school, and got to know the other AOIT kids well. Highly recommend.


You thanked Darian

Chuck Mihaliak from Haddon Hall · 1d ago

My son is a senior in the AOIT program. I can echo the above comments that it has been a great experience. The level of preparation, both academically and professionally, is fantastic. I’m also a member of the AOIT Advisory board which is mostly parents who are highly involved in supporting the Academy – all highly dedicated.
Regarding internships, the call is out now for companies who might be interested in hiring a student for the summer. If you know anyone who could use a well trained student with strong IT skills, let me know.


You thanked Chuck

Thom Haynes from Mandavilla Way · 22h ago

My son was in Apex’ AOIT pgm, finished around 2009, it was great, a unique and lucky opportunity for Apex students. He went on to a Comp Sci degree at UNC Charlotte and is a software engineer in Cincinnati now, with a huge Indian consulting firm, doing very well.


You thanked Thom

I-Ting Huang from Holt Rd · 12h ago

My son was graduated from Apex High’s AOIT program last year. I have asked him to give you some input. Here is what he wrote: The Academy of Information Technology aka AOIT has one of the most misleading names I have ever encountered in my life. Although we did work a lot with technology e.g. coding, website design, etc., the Academy really tries to focus on preparing students for their best possible futures in many aspects other than technology. We focused a lot on developing soft skills, like presentation skills and ways to work effectively in teams. These are also the exact things the Academy fails to advertise/showcase time and time again. I came into the program thinking I was going to do hardcore programming stuff and that thought process quickly disappeared within the first year.

AOIT contains a cohort of 90 students chosen through a lottery system of all who had applied. Chosen students are then placed in special AOIT-only classes where the only students in the class are in AOIT in addition to their regular classes. These classes can include anything from biology class to english class, classes that have absolutely nothing to do with technology; however, AOIT incorporates multiple projects and required presentations into those classes that are largely nonexistent in “regular” non-AOIT classes. Because you are taking many classes with the same people i.e. the people in AOIT that are in your grade, friendships are easily formed. I must say that AOIT helped me a lot in transitioning into high school in this regard. Making friends was easy through projects and conversations and adjusted me to the high school environment quickly. Many of my close friends today are/were from the AOIT program.

We also go on many AOIT-only field trips as a cohort; some are fun like going to the zoo or a high ropes course, but others are serious preparations for the future, such as the visit to NC State’s campus for practice job interviews. You most definitely do not get these opportunities outside of AOIT and the aspect of building relationships with your fellow AOIT classmates is again emphasized. As you progress through high school, the amount of AOIT-only classes decreases (I had only one AOIT-only class and seven regular classes my senior year) and field trips become less common, but the bonds you forged with your AOIT friends remain solidly intact.

The biggest thing that I thank AOIT for is their internship program. Graduation from the program requires each student to have an internship the summer after his/her junior year. In the process of getting an internship, we had to write resumes and interview with real company recruiters; this was the real deal. Although students are ultimately responsible for getting an internship, AOIT board members and staff immensely aid students in the process. This opportunity is absolutely invaluable. It is ludicrous for someone to already have internship experience before even coming to college, and it makes finding internships in college a whole lot easier. Not only do you get paid more than your average fast food summer job would (AOIT requires that the internship selected provides compensation), you get to see what life is like in an actual real-life work environment and learn hands on how to communicate with your coworkers and manager, manage projects, and countless other practical scenarios; it’s downright incredible.

The only downside to AOIT would be that some AOIT-only classes may conflict with the regular classes that a student may want to take in regards to time scheduling. For instance, I was unable to enroll in a band class my freshman year because I had so many AOIT-only classes that were the same time as the band class.


Top of Form

Open Source

Written By Ethan Alfonso

Open source programming is the development of software that is neither privatized nor restricted in its development and sale. This style of development has been around since the formation of the Free Software movement in the 1980s. At its base concept an open source project is made freely accessible to the public to study, write and distribute as a developer wishes. The title came further when the same movement changed its name to the open source initiative due to ambiguity of the term “free software” not specifically centered around being free to the consumer.

Open source works differently from standard procedure because of its leniency toward public consumption. Compared to nearly all other forms of software license, open source is one of the least rigid ways of owning and distributing content. Under an OS license, an external user can use, display, copy and modify all while the original owner retains copyright. In addition, many types of non-protective OS licenses allow for sublicensing from other products.

Open Source development carries several key advantages with it, including the following:


Open source software is by definition open to all, and with that comes an external visibility that is beneficial to the proprietor and the user, as all changes, decisions and updates can be accessed publicly, creating more trust between the consumer and producer.


A major draw to OSS is the reduction in cost. Without having to pay hefty costs associated with closed, off-the-shelf proprietary software. This change usually entails the costs of transitioning to OSS and a licence renewal that is substantially less expensive that those given prior.


The use of open-source licensing on a product allows for more fluid reuse and extension of pre-licensed source code. This reduces technical debt, which leaves the OSS adopter to flexibly adapt to the needs of a project as it inevitably evolves. With the adoption of other open source technologies, developers can easily transfer from one developing software to another without vendor lock-in.

The wide-range uses of open source has already been recognised by the most prominent tech companies. Google and Microsoft were early adopters of the methodology, with google supplying over 20 million lines of OS-licensed code. Multiple OS licensors have taken the mantle of aiding rising businesses moving towards open source, the Open Source Initiative being the best recognized of them.

While it might not be the cure-all for copyrighting software, open source should definitely keep a noteworthy place among the computer age. Its availability to adapt software without the red undeniably appeals to both the greatest minds and the greatest accountants, for both altruistic and fiscal reasons. -Ethan Alfonso

What is Cloud Computing??

Written by Ethan Alfonso// Apex High AOIT class of 2017


Among recent years in the IT community, the term “cloud computing” has become understood as somewhat nebulous jargon for any who aren’t at a base awareness to it. Wherever the misconceptions arise, the term describes a practice that at base is something everyone either is aware of or actively participating in.

While cloud computing does have a base idea behind it, the edges that define it can become blurred depending who is describing it and for what purpose. The original definition can be settled around something in the range of “utilizing off-location computer servers to use computer services”. The vagueness of using such services is all of what gives cloud computing so much potential, wariness and confusion at once.

To give a scenario, say a small-scale shipper requires a software and communication aspect, and rather than investing in a costly on-site server, invests in cloud computing. Once a cloud service contractor has facilities set up to use and contracts with big customers, they can potentially act as a surrogate for any computing needs of the customer. This is sometimes constituted with a basic infrastructure for a client, allowing them to have a professional/efficient/reliable/etc. interface without requiring to know all of the in’s and out’s of building a server or paying an on-site engineer to handle such things. This form is the most basic type of cloud partitioning, and is referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Some more complex variations of this service allow entire applications to be run by consumers remotely. As a result, consumers require less processing power at a workstation or personal desktop, and therefore can share or allocate that among the cloud. This second type, which builds upon IaaS is called Platform as a Service (PaaS). Data as a Service (DaaS) follows the pattern, but rather than the problem of running applications locally, deals with data storage. This availability of storage lets the consumer not worry about over-allocating memory, and possibly eliminates any need for a set database. The final utilization of cloud computing is Software as a Service (SaaS), where entire applications, interfaces and memory stores can be made available to the client in a matter of hours on subscription basis. Such service can be useful at lowering cost as a response to other contemporary software developers may need hefty requirements on the basis of being a permanent download.

The advantages of cloud computing over its precursor techniques are many. The fluidity provided by allocatable computing lets each client have their own chunk of a server that can change based on individual needs. This leads to more flexible payment options like subscriptions and pay-as-you-go computing. Other advantages include reduced costs, shorter setup times for the clientele and even an increase in size of software markets.

With these pros come some disadvantages as well, that many a remorseful buyer is wary of. Not all cloud providers are equal, nor are the contracts they employ to businesses and personal consumers. Some may overcharge or inflate prices, along the vein of cable companies before them, and others may simply have unreliable services to boot. This can often be accompanied with bad awareness and training in the work force, meaning one untrained user can build a steep debt and an untrained team can build a mountain.

A lot of information about cloud computing has surged in recent years, making it unclear whether not it is perhaps a fad or one more term which the average computer worker has to shove under the jargon rug. It may seem like a small move forward, but cloud computing is already becoming the next frontier in the IT world, and it requires ready, careful steps to ensure its best use. -Ethan Alfonso


1. Hassan, Qusay (2011). “Demystifying Cloud Computing”(PDF). The Journal of Defense Software Engineering. CrossTalk. 2011 (Jan/Feb): 16–21. Retrieved 11 December2014.

2. “Gartner Says Cloud Computing Will Be As Influential As E-business”. Gartner. Retrieved 2016-10-17


AOIT Networking event

Written by Rachel McKinney// Apex High AOIT class of 2016

Networking– to further one’s career by interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts.

Doesn’t sound like something teenagers are doing? Think again. Last Thursday, AOIT juniors were in the Apex High Media Center networking with small business owners who are offering paid summer internships to students. It may seem like a strange sight seeing so many teens dressed in business professional clothes, shaking hands with potential employers, and exchanging business cards, but the Apex Chamber of Commerce Networking Event has become a yearly tradition in Apex High’s nationally distinguished Academy of Information Technology.

Junior year is an exciting time for AOIT students as they begin their search for meaningful internships, and the AOIT class of 2017 is no exception. They are looking forward to gaining real workplace experience through their internships, the annual networking event is the first step towards that. The event is a great way for students to build interpersonal skills by introducing themselves to and interacting with real, professional adults.  AOIT Board member Marcia Murto who attended the event, not only praised student’s professionalism through their business attire, but also “the fact that 5 to 10 minute conversations were taking place, suggesting that real connections were being made.” The annual event is the perfect opportunity to help connect small businesses to young, skilled interns, and vice versa. As Ed Majkowski of Random 434 Boutique said, “we are looking for someone to take us to the next level,” and that is exactly what the networking event aims to accomplish.

Juniors may not yet know where their internship will be, but they are looking forward to finding one. Some have specific fields that they would like their internship to be in, others are just excited for the opportunity to gain real world experience and to expand their resumes. “I’m not sure what field I want to go into career wise, so I’m hoping my internship will help me figure that out,” says AOIT junior Angela Schulze at the networking event. Seniors who have already gone through the intern experience were also at the event to talk about their internships. Dhvani Bhatia, an AOIT senior who interned at SAS attended the event to give advice and insight into what an internship is like, gushed to the juniors about how she “learned more in her internship than she ever did in all of high school.” Juniors can expect to learn applicable, real world skills no matter where their internship may be, and the networking event is the first step towards getting that internship

This year’s Apex Chamber of Commerce Networking event was another success for AOIT, and we can’t wait to hear about the experiences the juniors have this summer at their internships!

Check out this video for a firsthand experience of the event:


CTE Month: Not your Father’s Shop Class



Written by: Rachel McKinney // Apex AOIT class of 2016

Vocational education is out, CTE (Career Technical Education) is in.

So what’s the difference? 20th century vocational classes aimed to teach students skills to land them jobs straight out of high school. These old fashioned auto mechanics and woodworking classes taught students the basic skills they needed to put them on track for employment. This typically narrow track of vocational training was often segregated away from the ‘college prep’ classes and geared to fill jobs in the industrial age.

However, the aim of 21st century CTE classes are vastly different. While the goal of any form of education is to increase the chance of success in the workforce, CTE encourages post-secondary education, which in turn will increase their earning power. Of course auto mechanics and woodworking classes are still available, but the spectrum of classes offered now expands to applied sciences and technology, giving students a wide variety of classes to choose from based on their interests. The most popular CTE class options of this era include health sciences and information technology. Even woodworking and auto classes have changed over the years with many high school courses now involving computerized equipment, and electronics. In today’s economy and global age CTE courses are ready to prepare students for jobs that require much different skills than in the past.

Even today, the stereotype remains that CTE classes are much easier than ‘college prep’ classes. The reality is that CTE classes can be a challenging, rewarding experience for all kinds of students, no matter what  their post-high school education plans may be. Senior Michelle Linton, who is currently taking ECommerce II, agrees saying, “CTE classes aren’t for lazy people who want an easy A… they can be very challenging and frustrating, so you have to be prepared to work hard.”  With 85% of students completing at least one CTE class in high school according to the National Association of CTE Consortium the vast majority of high school students are having a chance to get valuable real world experience.



CTE Month: The Importance of CTE Classes

Written by: Rachel McKinney // Apex AOIT Class of 2016 Through all four years of high school, AOIT students are sure to find themselves sitting in several CTE (Career Technical Education) classes. Any required AOIT Programming, Networking, or E-Commerce class is considered to be a CTE course. While many AOIT students just associate CTE with computer classes, CTE extends to much more than just computers, including a variety of classes such as horticulture, culinary, apparel and health sciences, just to name a few available at Apex High. What many people don’t realize however, are the benefits that come from having a variety of CTE classes available to high school students.

One of the biggest complaints of any high school student is being assigned pointless busywork, but in CTE class assignments often end with tangible results. Christian Purser, a senior in Programming II couldn’t agree more. “In other classes it’s just like ‘oh ok I got an A on the test’, but in [Programming] I actually get to see the final result of my work,” says Purser gesturing to the program he is coding on his computer. According to the Association of Career and Technical Education, 81 percent of dropouts say that relevant learning opportunities would have kept them in school. This is where CTE classes come into play. CTE classes aim to teach students applicable skills that can be used for jobs in the real world, giving students have the opportunity to learn valuable skills that make them employable while still in high school.

AOIT students are at an advantage, since they will end up taking more than four CTE classes concentrated in an area of IT. In Wake County students who have a CTE concentration of four or more classes have an extraordinarily high graduation rate of 98.2 percent. By time graduation rolls around, an AOIT student is well versed in either Programming, Web Design, or both. Whether or not an AOIT student chooses to pursue a full-time career in these areas, these CTE classes will have taught them great resume building skills that they will benefit from.


February is National CTE Month. For more information on CTE classes visit the Association of Career & Technical Education website.

6 QUESTIONS: Job Shadowing

Written by: Kaitlyn Long // Apex AOIT ’16

On Thursday, November 11, the AOIT freshman class participated in a job shadowing experience. This event is coordinated in the fall of every year, and is used to help AOIT’s youngest members get a better glimpse into the real-world proceedings and what different kinds of jobs are available to them. For the most part, each student shadows someone unique: some go to work with their parents for a day, some shadow a family friend with a cool career, and others utilize the expertise of Mr. Evans to be placed in an enriching experience with one of the Advisory Board members.

A notable instance of the latter included Advisory Board member Connie Freeman. Mrs. Freeman is employed by the JMP division of the SAS Institute, which provides statistical analysis to businesses and governments around the world.

JMP hosted three students–Jess Hair, Sara Moushegian, and Audrey Payne–and Mrs. Freeman decided to give them an experience they wouldn’t soon forget. The itinerary included a job shadow of both Mrs. Freeman herself and Ms. Olivia Lippincott, an Apex High AOIT alum. In accordance with the shadowing, these students also participated in the execution and analysis of an experiment conducted by JMP analyzing characteristics of chocolate.

I recently got the chance to talk with Mrs. Freeman about the job shadowing experience, demonstrated from the mentor’s perspective. I asked her 6 questions, and her responses are very telling about the successes and strengths of job shadowing:

What are your daily responsibilities at SAS? How does technology influence those responsibilities?
I help state & local government agencies across the United States better understand their data and use it to make decisions, such as a state finding Medicaid fraud, the City of Denver analyzing crime data or the City of Durham monitoring the water quality of Falls Lake. Technology is a part of everything I do. I am always on a computer; searching the web for more information on a customer, holding webcast sessions with customers to learn more about our software, or using CRM applications like SalesForce to track activities with customers for example.

What do you feel is the importance of job shadowing?
I think the job shadow opportunity is so important for students. It allows them to see what the actual activities could be for a job. Some as simple as searching the internet or mailing materials to customer to others as complicated as coding new software. It gives students a taste of the business world.
Why is it important to get started with it during a student’s freshman year?
[It] allows freshman students the opportunity to consider job options they may not have considered and actually like.

What were the students’ responses to the job shadowing experience?
In general, they really appreciated getting to see several different job roles (tester, developer and systems engineer) and what SAS was really like. One student is not looking into a career in statistics.

What is important for students to consider when choosing an AOIT internship, and how does the job shadowing process affect this decision?
It would be great for a student to choose an internship in a field of interest if possible. This would allow them to narrow their intended major and possible college choice. Regardless it will give them job experience which they can put on their resume.

What advice can you give for students considering careers in technology?
The nice thing about technology is it is ever changing. This means you will constantly be evolving in a job as you continue to learn which is fun! Don’t be afraid to consider a job even if you don’t have have all the qualifications especially in entry level roles. The company will have a training curriculum to get them started.



Apex High School Academy of Information Technology

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