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Changing tires, sampling truffles, getting a haircut – TF South students explore options at CTE showcase

LANSING, Ill. (January 18, 2023) – The minds of TF South freshmen and sophomores were on the future as roughly 1,000 students filtered through TF South’s gym during the annual Career and Technical Education Showcase.

District 215 offers its students an opportunity to pursue Career and Technical Education “pathways,” which incorporate specific classes and often result in a professionally-recognized certification for the students participating.

Thursday’s event gave freshmen and sophomores a chance to learn about the 18 different CTE pathways from upperclassmen currently in the programs. Representatives from some local colleges and organizations were also present at the event. Freshmen were given first period to explore options, while sophomores were given second period.

Barbering students offered free haircuts at the CTE Showcase. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
CTE Showcase
Culinary students paused their distribution of chocolate truffles to take a photo. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Among the options were cosmetology, photography, collision repair, culinary arts, education, electrical, engineering, graphic design, barbering, accounting, and others.

District 215 Director of Career and Technical Education Carol Brooks said each of the CTE pathways allows students to earn credits as they study.

“We’re opening the doors for our students to truly have an edge on entry-level careers. We want to get them in the door,” she said.

For example, Brooks said students in the cosmetology and barbering programs have their licensure exams paid for by District 215, and if they reach 1,500 clocked hours, they can receive their barbering or cosmetology license alongside their diploma on graduation day.

Some programs are also dual-credit programs, earning students hours that count for college credit as well.

Roughly 1,000 students passed through the CTE showcase over two periods at TF South on Thursday. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Brooks took over directing D215’s CTE department after Dr. John Robinzine was promoted to interim superintendent of the district. She and Wendy Bivins, D215’s Career Development Coordinator and Counselor worked to make Thursday’s showcase a success.

TF North will host a similar event for its students on Friday, January 19.

Students and teachers involved in CTE showcase

With many programs seeking to find ways to attract potential students, some offered snacks, others offered haircuts. But the largest attraction in the TFS gym was provided by Jorge Navarrete’s collision repair program.

Students were invited to compete against each other to see how fast they could replace a tire at the “Pit Stop Challenge.”

“I found this on [Facebook] marketplace,” Navarrete said of the attraction, which was originally used in a carnival setting.

Collision repair teacher Jorge Navarrete walks students through how to compete in the “Pit Stop Challenge.” (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
CTE Showcase
Students competed to replace a tire using power tools. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The collision repair program allows students to participate for two years while working on real vehicles. Welding, body work, metal fabrication, panel replacement, and finishing are among the skills taught, Navarrete said.

South sophomore Antoine Robinson finished the “Pit Stop Challenge” in 46 seconds, handily beating his competitor.

“To be honest, I want to be a pilot,” Robinson said, “but [collision repair] is mechanical, so I’m a little interested in it.”

Nearby, upperclassmen students at the future teachers table welcomed aspiring educators to sign up to take two hands-on classes called “Foundations of Teaching,” and “Education Methodology.”

“You get to teach in an actual classroom,” said junior Darionna Barry. “Also we’ve gone to different colleges. We went to ISU and they have a great education program.”

“This is perfect for students that want to be a teacher,” junior Alexandria Walker said, adding that colleges are already interested in them for their education programs.

Walker wants to become a third or fourth grade teacher while Barry wants to teach kindergarten or special education students.

Juniors Darionna Barry (left) and Alexandria Walker are in the future teachers program. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

More information about the Career and Technical Education programs at District 215 can be found at

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.


  1. Wow, what an excellent idea for students. The different options promoted for kids to explore for their future. Kudos to all who put this together! 👏

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