Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 | 3:03 p.m.
High school students aspiring to become police officers, paramedics or crime scene investigators will have a new opportunity to pursue their goals when Veterans Tribute Career & Technical Academy opens this August.
Located at 2531 Vegas Drive near the intersection of Vegas Drive and Rancho Drive, the academy will be part of the Clark County School District and serve high school students countywide.
The school will be the first of its kind in the state, offering general education classes as well as introductory training for law enforcement, paramedics, 911 dispatching and crime scene analysis, said Principal Tammy Boffelli.
"When students find educational programs that are truly relevant to them, they get excited about their academics," Boffelli said. "Attendance and graduation rates go up as a result."
As part of the application process, students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and good attendance records at their previous school, Boffelli said.
During its first year, Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy will have an enrollment of 350 ninth and 10th-grade students.
Juniors and seniors will join over the following two years and the academy will boast an enrollment of 700 students by 2011, Boffelli said.
"Our goal is to give these kids a leg up on their competition if they do indeed pursue one of these careers," she said.
Metro Police, Clark County School District Police and the Clark County Fire Department have partnered with the new school to provide instructors and training programs.
Sgt. Dave Orr of Metro said that new police recruits must be at least 21 years old and crime scene analysts must have a bachelor's degree.
Paramedics and 911 dispatchers, however, could be hired right after graduating from high school.
"By having this school and getting us involved, it will help garner interest and guide those students who are interested," Orr said. "It will also serve as a good recruiting base for all of our agencies."
Construction of the $59 million school, which began in April 2008, is 60 percent complete. It is scheduled to open on Aug. 24.
The campus will also feature an obstacle and agility course that will be used by students, police officers and firefighters.
Orr said he hopes the academy's graduates will leave prepared for the real world and community service.
"We never quit learning," Orr said. "I've been with Metro for 20 years and I'm still going to classes. You're constantly learning and getting re-certified throughout your entire career."
For more information about Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy, call 799-4710 or visit http://schools.ccsd.net/vtcta.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.