When Andrew came to MCH in 2010, he was just a quiet 13-year-old boy about to enter high school. But while attending the MCH charter school located on the Waco campus, Andrew took the initiative and made a choice that would ultimately lead to his future career while also opening a door of opportunity for other students to follow.
He decided to enroll in an agricultural sciences class as his elective and was introduced to welding. Andrew grew to enjoy it and talked to his career counselor in an effort to find more opportunities to continue his interest.
“I told her I wanted something that I can do where I can build or make things and work with my hands,” he said.
The solution was enrolling Andrew in the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA), a program offered through the Waco Independent School District that offers advanced technical and manufacturing training for high school students. Andrew enrolled in the welding program and became the first student from the MCH charter school to attend the program during his junior and senior year.
“I learned that (welding) can be a really good-paying job and I liked it,” Andrew said.
Andrew’s motivation to pursue his interest made him somewhat of a trailblazer at Methodist Children’s Home. Since Andrew’s enrollment, MCH has had 15 students attend courses at GWAMA, with three more attending the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy (GWAHCA).
Andrew earned credits toward an education in welding before even graduating from high school in 2015 and decided to continue his studies at Texas State Technical College in Waco. He is currently pursuing two associate’s degrees: one in applied science in welding technology, and the other in precision machining technology. He said he wants to travel and obtain a job welding exotic metals that also incorporates machining.
Throughout his transition from high school into college, Andrew has stayed on track and performs well in college. He said although he is doing well on his own, it is assuring to have the support of MCH and his Transition Services coordinator, Angie Vaughn, who has been with him on his journey since his senior year of high school.
“It is an awesome thing to have in case I need it,” Andrew said about the assistance from MCH. “It shows they really care about you and want to make sure you continue to succeed. I appreciate it.”
Vaughn checks in with Andrew several times a semester and has supported him during his transition into adulthood. She has been very impressed by the growth he has shown.
“He is really a model college student,” Vaughn said. “He takes care of business and whatever he needs to do. He has really matured and grown up a lot these past few years. He really found his niche in college.”