Giving Students a Clear Path to a Brighter Future

Orcutt Academy High School, Orcutt, California - Gold Medal

When the school principal sees the possibility in an effort, amazing things can happen. This is clearly in evidence at Orcutt Academy High School in Orcutt, California.

Several years back, Rhett Carter, the school principal, had a chance encounter with Anthony, a former honors student who had graduated from Orcutt two years prior. During the course of their conversation, Anthony said, “I don’t know what I want to do.” That simple statement made a big impact on Mr. Carter. His school was already using AVID, but clearly they were not getting the results that they desired for all students.

After attending an introductory workshop on Career Choices, Mr. Carter recruited Lauren Eubanks, Joshua Bennet, and Alyson Chavez—three of his best and most enthusiastic teachers to implement the Career Choices curriculum with a grand total of 600 students for that initial year: 150 freshmen, 150 sophomores, 150 juniors, and 150 seniors.

Building the right team was critical. Having experienced teachers involved from the beginning contributed a great deal. Their knowledge, combined with their ability to counsel, successfully guide, and support their students as they explore and contemplate major life decisions, is paramount to the success of the program.

The energy that has followed Mr. Carter’s initial vision is contagious. The “buy-in” from the board to the instructors was immediate, and there is the added bonus that Allan Hancock College grants college credit for the program.

Career Choices is for everybody,” concludes Mr. Carter. “To see the successes that Orcutt Academy High School students have when going on to post-secondary opportunities is extremely gratifying.”