Curry Agri-Science teacher Chris McCullar said his students have had the opportunity to work with a Tortec Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine for the past three weeks, and the students have really enjoyed it.
“A member of the State Board of Education, Gary Warren from Haleyville, is a big supporter of Career and Technical Education, and he was instrumental in getting the Tortec program and the router program we participated in set up for all the high schools in Alabama,” McCullar said. “This is a wonderful program because it allows our students to work with machines like this, which we wouldn’t be able to afford to have without it. I wish we could but this machine by itself costs $30,000 plus all the computers that came with it. There is just no way.”
McCullar said his students have learned some critical thinking skills that they can use not matter what field they’re going into.
“They’re learning how to take something they have in their mind and draw it on the computer, then manipulate it to the mechanical side and tell the laser machine what to do,” McCullar said. “I firmly believe that kind of training, no matter what the students are interested in doing in the future, will give them a step up on anyone else.”
Two of McCullar’s students, senior Eric Latham and freshman Brady Jenkins, were enthusiastic about being able to demonstrate how the machine worked. “I’m going into the Navy after graduation, but I’m also interested in doing something in the carpentry field as well,” Latham said. “And I loved the opportunity to work with this machine. I felt very productive while I was using it, because I’ve never done anything like that in my life, and it was awesome.”