ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – High school can be challenging with classes and prepping for tests like the SAT, but choosing the right path in high school can be even harder. The Abilene Independent School District hosted its annual ‘Hello High School’ event, where eighth graders from all four local middle schools come to learn about Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and other organizations available to them in high school.

Austin Hendrickson, a junior at Abilene High School, first learned about CTE from his older brothers when he was in middle school. Now he is taking agriculture classes and is part of Future Farmers of America.

“CTE has been very good to me. I’ve gained leadership skills, confrontational skills, I’m able to talk to people, everything,” said Austin.

Now he is teaching eighth graders about what he learned from his older brothers at ‘Hello High School.’

“It gives eighth graders an outlook to see what agriculture is and how they can join the FFA and join the agriculture classes,” Austin shared.

The agriculture booth is one of many career opportunities showcased to eighth graders. CTE director for AISD, Lucille Fullen, said the purpose of this event is for eighth graders to learn about what they can do and interact with the community.

To see them here today, engaged in conversation with high school students and with our community partners, it’s just a great exposure for them,” Fullen expressed.

Fullen said the eighth graders learn about opportunities available that can set them up for success after graduation.

“They can see what’s offered to them in high school and they can actually start their career path in ninth grade,” Fullen added.

Visit Abilene ISD’s website to learn more about the Career Technical Education programs.