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They’re wired for success at Homestea High.
Twenty specially selected students are enrolled in the school’s residential electrical wiring class, a partnership with Florida International University.
“What the kids get is, number one, they get a set of skills they can apply to real-life situations after they graduate from high school,” said Principal Guillermo Munoz.
The program is meant to be an outlet for emotionally disturbed and behaviorally challenged kids, a way to get them juiced up about coming to school and planning for bright futures.
“Any student would thrive in the program, but I think this program was designed with this specific group in mind to provide them with a career path, as you may know, these students have some difficult challenges within their lives, so therefore we need to come up with a curriculum that addresses their needs specifically,” Munoz said. “This gives them a career path."
Homestead High is among three Miami-Dade County schools that offer the program. The students construct and wire a model house, earning an electrician’s helper certificate when they graduate.
“We train them on the N.E.C., the national electric code, so once a student graduates they are able to move across the country with that certificate and be able to work,” said James Medina, a counselor at the school who helps select the students for the program.
It’s not just about electricity, though. The work in the electrical wiring class gets these kids more plugged into their other classes as well. For some of them it’s as if a light bulb comes on in their heads.
“It does help me with my other classes,” said senior Emmanuel Drayton, who plans on being an electrician in the military. “This is almost a release for when I’m going through a stressful day, it may seem like it’s a difficult class but once you really get to sit in here, work with the professor, it just puts me in tune with what i gotta do the rest of the day.”
The school says the kids in the program improve their GPAs, attendance, and their overall academic performance. It could be said that a flip is switched for them, and the electrical wiring class illuminates their lives. Eventually, the principal says, he would like to expand the program and open it up to everyone.