Poplarville Career Development Center providing skills

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 1, 2015

STEM EDUCATION: High school students participating in the center’s STEM program assemble together a robot made out of Legos during class. Photo by Ashley Collins.

STEM EDUCATION: High school students participating in the center’s STEM program assemble together a robot made out of Legos during class. Photo by Ashley Collins.


Under one roof, high school students are developing real-world skills in fields varying from science to the culinary arts at Poplarville High School Career Development Center.

Dr. Marlene Cole has been the center’s director for the past nine years and believes their programs are instrumental in preparing students to excel after graduation.

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“While these programs are taken as electives, these students have a chance to receive long-term benefits from them,” Cole said.

By passing the state certification exam in their respective program, students can earn a half or full scholarship to Pearl River Community College.

There are currently six programs offered at the Career Development Center, including agriculture and environmental science technology, culinary arts, digital media, health sciences, marketing and the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

On a daily basis, students can be found inside their classrooms working on projects. In the health and sciences class, students can be seen operating on pumpkins during a lesson on sterile procedures. These students have received real-world experience by shadowing at Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home.

Inside the STEM classroom, students can be seen constructing a robot made out of Legos using several Lego Mindstorms EV3 building sets.

“While we offer different programs at the center, we’ve done and will continue to do many integrated projects where students from every program work together,” Cole said.

One of the integrated programs is called Project Success, which is a two-year project focusing on preparing students for future employment. The center’s educators guide students through the job-hunting process, proper interview etiquette and professional resume formatting. At the end, the center holds a mock interview session where local business leaders interview students for a mock position in their company, Cole said.

Recently, students worked on a raised-bed garden project led by Student Service Coordinator Ann Bosworth.

“It was a team effort between everyone and the garden is something that’s being utilized by every program,” Bosworth said.

Students involved in the agriculture and environmental science technology program constructed the raised beds, which grow produce like zucchini, bell peppers and potatoes.

Currently, the garden is up and running and used by the culinary arts students to cook healthy foods for breakfast and lunch inside their state-of-the-art kitchen. The digital media students are putting the final touches on their documentary video showing the process of creating the raised-bed garden, Bosworth said.

“This center is truly one of the best kept secrets in education,” Cole said.

In order to be eligible for a program, students must have a C average or higher, regular attendance and must exhibit good behavior.

The center offers tours for eighth and ninth-graders considering a program.

The center is located at 9 Career Center Dr. in Poplarville. For more information, contact center staff at (601) 795-8343.