On October 31st, one of the Career and Technical Education classrooms were carefully decorated in pink and blue decorations. The students giggled with glee as they blasted Starrkeisha’s “Baby Mama” and walked their expectant teacher, Ms. Pickett, through a maze of riddles. After opening black boxes, popping pacifier shaped balloons, setting off confetti-filled party poppers, and a plethora of other ridiculous tasks, the mother to be was left driven crazy. She was dying to know the gender of her third child!
Ms. Pickett was finally led to a piñata. Encouraged to give it a good tug, she yanked the string hanging from the stomach of the paper mache unicorn, enjoying the festivities, but hoping that this was the last of the games that would finally tell her a little more about who’s been growing inside of her. The piñata cracks and a frenzy of candy and toy baby items trickle out. However, this time, everything was the same color. This was the moment Ms. Pickett learned what she is having!
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) program is an initiative that encourages students to deep dive into learning about career paths and propel them forward in their futures by teaching them skills that will prepare them for college-level courses and/or help them gain the knowledge needed to earn different types of certifications upon graduating from high school. Sayre’s program, in particular, helps students learn the skills necessary to become home health aides, rehab aides, certified nursing assistants, or sports medicine assistants if they start working immediately after graduation. If the students are seeking college as their post-secondary option, the curriculum gives them the basis that they need to pursue any college-level health-care program.
At Sayre, Ms. Pickett teaches a 10th and 12th grade Career and Technical Education Class, as well as a 9th grade Career Exploration class. She was brought to teaching when she was looking for a change of pace from her career as an Occupational Therapist. She joined the Sayre team two years ago, just as the CTE program was reinstated at the school. When asked about how she likes teaching, Ms. Pickett states, “I love it! I love the relationships that I have with my students… and seeing their growth.” Her relationship with her 12th grade class, this being the second year she has taught them, has grown the most. “In the beginning of the school year, they were the first people in the school that I announced my pregnancy to… That’s just a special bond that we have,” says Pickett.
As the year went on, the students kept up with Ms. Pickett’s progress. Around the time that Ms. Pickett would be able to learn the gender of her child, her 12th grade CTE class asked if they could read the letter from her doctor first and throw a gender reveal party for her.
As the candy and toys fell from the body of the piñata, Ms. Pickett fell to her knees with pure joy. Her students surround her, cheering and sharing in her eagerness. One of her students passed her a small black and white picture of her ultrasound, confirming the baby rolling around inside of her is a little girl! “I was extremely excited!” said Pickett. “I would’ve been happy with a boy too. But I was extremely excited because I already have two boys. So, I’m excited to have the opportunity to raise a girl.”
The thought of departing from her teaching roll during her maternity leave was bittersweet for Ms. Pickett, but she hopes that her classes will be left in good hands until she returns.
Congratulations Ms. Pickett!!
-Ciera Osborne, College and Career Coach at Sayre High School