Academy structure creates meaning and focus for learning in secondary education

In this testimonial from one of our Student Ambassadors, Cody D. writes about how studying in Cane Ridge High School's Academy of Architecture and Construction sparked his passion for building and helped him to start planning the next steps in his education and career. Students in this academy have the opportunity to work with the program's Academy Partners, which include Messer Construction, Ole South Realty, and Associated General Contractors. Students also learn about opportunities to further their education and career through organizations such as the ACE Mentor Program and the Tennessee Technology Center. Being in the Academy of Architecture and Construction here at Cane Ridge High School has changed my life in numerous ways. Going into the academy my sophomore year I kind of thought this was just going to be another one of those classes that wasn’t going to help me in life. Now being a senior and having completed two years of the academy courses, it has become very clear that this is what I want to do with my life. It has opened my eyes to this career and I can’t wait to go to college and continue to build upon this trade.

Coming into high school I knew that I wanted to do something with my hands, I just didn’t know what. After hearing about the construction academy I knew that I wanted to at least try it out because I believed that I would like it. I never knew that I would fall in love with it. Being in the academy has taught me a lot. I’ve learned the logistics behind a construction business. It’s taught me about structural integrity and how to use specific tools dealing with the job. I’ve built many structures for different school functions. I’ve built sets for plays and we take request from teachers about things that they may need built for their classes like book shelves, desks, cabinets, and many more things.

In class my teacher, Harold Cunningham, is very passionate in what he does. He does everything in his power to see all of his kids succeed in life, whether that is in the field of construction or not. He doesn’t just teach us the fundamentals of construction, he teaches us life lessons as well.

Being the academy’s ambassador has been a great opportunity for me to grow as a student and as a person. It has opened so many different doors for me and allowed me to talk to and meet some important members of our community.

Being in this academy has made me secure in what I want to do with my life and has given me a large head start. It’s given me a huge opportunity to build upon something I love to do.