4 local students awarded Tools of the Trade scholarships

Scholarships cover tuition for 3 credit hours

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Rayanna Rusk, Maddie Keith, Elle Harbison and Allie Freeman were awarded Tools of the Trade scholarships (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Tools of the Trade scholarship luncheon was held at Wallace State Community College (WSCC) on Tuesday, and four Cullman County Schools eighth graders were awarded scholarships for three credit hours to the college. 

Good Hope Middle School’s Rayanna Rusk won first place and Maddie Keith of Hanceville Middle School was awarded second place. In third place were West Point Middle School’s Elle Harbison and Allie Freeman. 

“I just want to challenge our eighth-grade students,” said Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette at the luncheon.  “We introduce you to a lot of different occupations and maybe future careers. I want you to think about ‘What would I like to do with my life.’ There are so many jobs out there that you haven’t even thought of yet. There’s a roomful of people here, including your parents, who want to walk alongside you and make those dreams come true.” 

Tools of the Trade was held Nov. 3 at the college and is an annual collaboration between the college, the Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA), Cullman County Economic Development and the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. It provides regional eighth-grade students the opportunity to explore possible career options with over 80 local industries and workforces. This year’s event hosted approximately 1,200 students.   

During the career fair, WSCC’s Center for Career and Workforce Development Director Jamie Blackmon devised a scavenger hunt, details of which were provided to the students prior to the event. Once on-site, the students were required to engage with various vendors and develop presentations with the information they obtained. The top three presentations were selected by each school. On Tuesday, the winners were invited back to WSCC for lunch and the scholarship awards.  

“The Tools of the Trade event was an incredible opportunity for eighth-grade students from our area schools to experience hands-on activities and skills across all career clusters,” shared WSCC Vice President for Advancement and Innovation Suzanne Harbin. “These are careers that students can have in the Cullman area, and we are so appreciative of our business and industry partners who participated and supported.  Wallace State has so much to offer our community, and showcasing all of our programs, including the allied health programs in the Simulation Center and the manufacturing programs in the new Welding Technical Training Center, allowed for students to have a more real-life experience. We hope that this inspired students to consider a variety of careers for their future.”    

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