Submitted by Jessica "Hutch" Hutchison
LCO School k-12 Superintendent
On October 6th, twenty-five students and five staff from the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe High School attended the first annual “Build My Future Wisconsin” expo at the St. Croix County Fairgrounds in Glenwood City, WI. The expo was designed to provide hands-on experience and demonstrations to students in high school and to speak with over 30 vendors and professionals, who volunteered their time, in the trade industry. Demonstrations included: building, framing, roofing, plumbing, masonry, siding/gutters, engineering, surveying, high voltage power, welding, heavy equipment operation, semi driving and much more!
Student selection to attend the expo was determined by student interest and enrollment in the following classes at LCO high school: School to Career, Personal Finance/Careers, and Marketing as an opportunity to introduce students in our school to the trades. The expo was sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Builders Association, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Northwood Technical College (formerly WITC), Arrow Building Center, Market & Johnson, ServPro, United States Air Force, and many more. The event was attended outdoors by over 800 students from 18 schools across the northern and western part of Wisconsin and even Minnesota.
Prior to attending the expo, students prepared for the trip by learning about safety protocols trade professionals have to adhere to as well as hand/power tool safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), and general rules and guidelines expected to keep them and others safe. Students also watched several videos showcasing the different trades, testimonials, educational and career opportunities, as well as programs they can enroll in.
Vendors and exhibitors were impressed by the enthusiasm and participation of our students from LCO! A number of students expressed their excitement and appreciation in many of the demonstrations offered throughout the day. Comments from students included:
“My favorite activity was going up in the bucket because the view was cool to see up high.” ~J.D.
“Three things I learned from this trip are: how to operate machinery, how to think mechanically, and life saving skills.” ~J.B.
“My favorite activity was going on the mini excavator and learning how to control it.” ~ J.G.
“I enjoyed going into the ambulance and seeing what was inside.” ~L.C.
“My favorite part was the big machines. I learned you have to be really careful or you will get really hurt.” ~C.L.
“My favorite was seeing how to use and drive a truck (semi). I learned how to use a nail gun.” ~L.P.
“I enjoyed smoothing the cement the most.” ~L.Q.
“One benefit from going on this trip was to consider our futures!” ~A.S.
“I enjoyed learning about what is inside a fire truck!” ~ S.M.
“I learned about electrical lines, how gutters are made, and how heavy a BOMB suit is!” ~E.B.
“If you use a nail gun, you have to hit the white line on the shingles.” ~ C.C.
“From this experience, I think I would enjoy doing Architectural design and building.” ~C.G.
No matter what trade our students chose to explore on October 6, they learned that they may be granted the opportunity to learn careers that are in high demand, earn a competitive salary in a fraction of the time and cost of a four year college or university. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School looks forward to bringing the trades back to provide an alternate learning experience for all students. Build My Future WI is already on the calendar for 2022!