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I.C. MURRELL — Port Arthur demonstrates education is not limited to classrooms

The most rewarding type of education is the one you don’t necessarily get in a classroom.

Jazmine Cabrera, Tahleh Evans, Phuong Khuu and Nam Hoang could very well attest to this, yet each of these 18-year-olds have so much ahead of them in their studies — and beyond.

By matriculating the Career and Technology Education program at Memorial High School, theirs and so many other students’ eyes are opened to the programs and skills that help them become marketable in a competitive workforce. These skills shape large-scale businesses, some of which seek robotic logistical solutions from a company that leases a building right here in Port Arthur.

That same company trained these four recent graduates — and three more of their classmates — and has gone the extra mile in keeping five of them employed as they continue their education careers. They’re doing it in a far more advanced manner than I could have imagined when I was 18.

A grit-and-grind work ethic has allowed me to claw to the top of my game, so I have no regrets about getting into journalism, which wasn’t even my first choice. If knowledge is power, daily information must be as well.

What’s so funny is that I didn’t think that deep at age 18. Or even age 23, when I finished college.

I attended a small university in the rolling timberlands of Southeast Arkansas, and while its most dedicated students leave well prepared for the commonly termed “real world,” career opportunities are sadly limited in that part of the country.

Educators, doctors, nurses, lawyers and business owners are still necessities, so those who have the calling will prove very crucial to the wellbeing of a person in the beloved “SeArk.”

But those who are driven to take on different challenges — you know, like robotic logistics — will prove marketable for companies in demand of their services.

A diversity in careers is an advantage Southeast Texas has over many rural areas, such as my childhood and college home, and a young person in Port Arthur can stay home and graduate ready for the world.

It’s because Port Arthur has an Economic Development Corporation that’s also been known to specialize in education development. The idea of turning an old newspaper building into a community and business development center that, among other purposes, will house a culinary center for Lamar State College Port Arthur is nothing short of ingenuity.

The fact that our EDC will partner with Lamar Institute of Technology to train up to 10 Port Arthurans in the school’s police academy, or that Lamar State College Port Arthur and the Port Arthur Independent School District helps students graduate with diplomas and associate’s degrees, or that LSCPA’s armory building is now a training ground for welding professionals, shouldn’t go unnoticed, either.

Port Arthur is made for training its best and brightest. Diverse minds demand diverse opportunities, which demands a diversity of education.

A diversity only a few locations are privileged to offer.

My associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are things of beauty. They do more than take the shape of an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch sheet of paper. They launched me into a greater, ongoing education in a changing profession.

These students from Port Arthur are getting started in the real world five years younger than I did, and some have yet to step foot in a college classroom.

No wonder why we call them bright futures.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at ic.murrell@panews.com

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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