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Belton ISD high school graduate works on building new school

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 20:48:08-05

A Belton ISD graduate who studied construction trades in school is now helping build the new high school.

“It came full circle, it feels good to go to school, give me all those opportunities, and then repay them back by building them a new school,” said Lyhue Penny.

The skills he learned in the classroom blossomed into a career not far from home.

“It’s just what I love. I love working with my hands. I love to do something, step back and said, I did that,” said Penny.

The 2018 Belton ISD graduate worked hard through high school in the trade program. He even took home the national title in a construction competition last year.

“I learned the basic knowledge in high school. I mean, I learned about amperage, and receptacles and all the basic stuff. This is just a blown up version of what I did,” said Penny.

Those skills progressed into a job with R.K. Bass Electric, a company partner with the district. The company has hired eight or nine former students in recent years.

“They’re the future of our workforce and for them to get the skills that they’re gaining at a high school level that they can directly apply at the construction site is a benefit for all of us,” said Andy Bass, owner of R.K. Bass.

Educators say career-focused education gives students like Penny options aside from traditional college paths.

“These students are coming out of high school and going into the labor force and they’re making really good money. There’s a lot of college degrees that don’t pay what these kids are starting out at,” said Craig Sullivan, Penny’s former teacher.

This program is not just important for students, but can also be a big boost to the economy.

“Right now the industry is hurting for skilled laborers and we’re helping meet that need. It’s not a lot but every little bit helps and the kids that are coming out of Belton high school are quality trained students that are skilled, ready to go,” said Sullivan.

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