Barbara Jordan Career Center rolled out the red carpet for guests on Wednesday to celebrate the grand opening of its new building.
The event was held in the school’s state-of-the-art welding center where students awed guests by welding through a brightly colored metal strip, which took the place of a traditional ceremonial ribbon.
“Moving to this new facility has energized adults and students alike,” Principal Ross McAlpine told guests. “Each day I witness teachers transforming their classrooms and labs into wonderful learning environments. And every day students approach me to let me know how much they enjoy the opportunities that Barbara Jordan offers them.”
As part of HISD’s 2012 Bond Program, the new Jordan features a 120,000-square-foot building designed to enhance its career readiness efforts.
The new school features specially designed spaces for training and instruction in automotive and diesel, audio/visual, construction management, cosmetology, early childhood development, culinary arts, marketing/entrepreneurship, electronics, and welding.
The programs are open to students zoned to Northside, Furr, Kashmere, North Forest, Heights, Washington, Wheatley, and Yates high schools and Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center. Students spend half the day at their home school and the other half at Jordan participating in specialized, high-demand career curriculum.
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan stressed to the crowd the significance of offering career-focused programs to students in north Houston and emphasized the importance of duplicating the efforts in south Houston.
“It is important that our children have opportunity. Whatever their heart desires, we in HISD can meet their needs,” Lathan said.
HISD Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones used the moment to reflect on the school’s namesake, the late Barbara Jordan — a state and national legislator, lawyer, and teacher.
“This new school embodies the very spirit of Barbara Jordan, a pioneer and champion for the underrepresented. This high school named in her honor shares and stands for those same qualities,” Skillern-Jones said.
Welding program student Yohaunce Rhea — a Wheatley High School senior who was one of the two students to weld through the beam for the ceremony — said he is excited about the experience he is getting at the new school.
“The experience at the new campus is phenomenal. We get to perform more hands-on learning which provides more opportunities for us,” Rhea said.
Elected officials taking part in the celebration included Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis and representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and State Rep. Harold Dutton.