SWEENY — The $1.7 million donated by Chevron Phillips Chemical will do much more than put the company’s name on the side of a building. It will help deliver state-of-the-art training to Sweeny ISD’s children.

“Our classrooms will have mock hospital rooms complete with medical beds and equipment for students to learn techniques such as administering medicine, taking blood pressure readings and drawing blood from patients,” junior Haley Stroud told the crowd at the Sweeny ISD school board meeting Tuesday evening. “We will also have a clinic area to allow for patient interviews and taking vitals.”

That’s just one of the perks at the new CP Chem CTE Center at Sweeny High School. The Career and Technical Education facility provides training for careers and certification in areas such as health science, business, agriculture, engineering and petrochemical work.

Superintendent Tory Hill said the school is very excited about the possibilities afforded to students and the community, especially after an announcement from CP Chem.

“This announcement marks a special time for Chevron Phillips Chemical and Sweeny ISD,” said Wayne McDowell, plant manager of the Sweeny/Old Ocean facility. “Chevron Phillips Chemical is proud to donate $1.7 million toward the Career and Technology Education Center. Dr. Hill has mentioned that there will be a variety of options for students that challenges them to what I like to call open doors, and Chevron Phillips Chemical wants to help open those doors with this donation.”

The facility will help students gain academic and technical experience at a much earlier age than usual, which will give them a boost as they pursue careers, McDowell said. About 98 percent of Sweeny High School students are involved in CTE courses, some of who graduate with CTE certifications like certified vet assistant, National Center for Construction Education and Research certifications and medical assistant that allow them to immediately enter the workforce.

Stroud is in two career and technology classes, health science and an audiovisual class. She’s following the public services endorsement, and her classes in the past few years have prepared her for a career in the medical field. Currently she’s in a practicum class that allows students to spend part of their time in the classroom and part doing rounds in local medical offices.

Next year, she and her classmates will prepare to take the certified medical assistant exam and the EKG technician exam. Students with these certifications can seek a career or add these certifications to their resume as they pursue a college education.

Hill thanked everyone involved in the center’s development. McDowell and Wendy Irwin worked closely with the school to outline priorities, he said, and Sweeny CTE teachers spent their summer advising architects. The whole community came together to make the project a reality, he said.

“In 2018, over 100 community members came together to form the Sweeny ISD Long-range Facilities Planning Committee. This group consisted of students, teachers, parents, community leaders and industry partners who worked together to develop a 15-year facility plan for the future of our community and our schools,” Hill said. “The Priority 1 items were taken to the community as part of the May 2019 bond project. We’re grateful that 86 percent of the community voted in support of that bond initiative.”

Sophomore Trey King, currently enrolled in four CTE courses, said students are thankful as well. As part of the Long-range Facilities Planning Committee, he gave a student outlook on the process and recently was voted co-chair of the Bond Oversight Committee.

“The CTE program at the high school allows us students to prepare for college as well as the workforce,” he said. “Going forward with our new facility, we have a lot of benefits with it being a modernized learning environment, just being able to go in a safer area and with a lot of new technology, getting caught up with our industries.”

Mary Newport is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0149.

Mary Newport is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0149.

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