Emily Swafford has been named the CTE Student of the Year Award from Bradley County Schools, coming in first among 31 nominees and 10 finalists.
The CTE Student of the Year Award is given to the student who exhibits exemplary skills that will help them succeed in the workforce, skills like leadership, community service, career technical student organization participation and classroom/academic achievement.
Each Bradley County Schools CTE teacher was asked to nominate one student for the award, bringing a total of 31 students into the running for this year’s award. The pool was narrowed to 10 finalists, which included MariLiis Bateman, Sydney Brady, Kylie Estrada, HaLee Kazy, Sydney Lawson, Jacob Long, Kaylei Peak, MaKaylah Shoemate, Emily Swafford, and Maggie Thompson. A panel ultimately selected Swafford as this year’s Bradley County Schools CTE Student of the Year.
In previous years, Bradley Central High School FFA has assisted with the award ceremony to honor CTE students from all career areas and their accomplishments. Due to the pandemic, the celebration has taken the form of the CTE Student of the Year Award to celebrate the accomplishments of the students within their department.
Voted “most likely to return as a teacher,” Swafford graduated in June as a Bear Scholar from Bradley Central High School, where she concentrated her studies in Education, Training and Family Studies.
As vice president of FCCLA her junior year and president her senior year, she has assisted, led and organized many community service projects like STEM on the Greenway, Showtime Savvy, Bears vs. Harvey, Red Ribbon Week, Paws for a Cause, the Special Needs Prom, Hands for the Homeless, Community Outreach and Prom Perfect.
She was selected to be a part of the T4 Committee, a drug-prevention group whose goal is to educate middle-school students on the effects of drug use. She has completed nine domestic and international mission trips and assists in her church’s children’s ministry.
During Emily’s junior year, the TAP class created the Educators Rising Club at Bradley Central High School to be implemented the following year. She became a member of the Educators Rising Club her senior year, identifying a kindness campaign as their main project.
She has maintained a 4.0 in her TAP and Family Studies classes. Swafford also won first place in the “Classroom in a Box” competition and competed in “My Teaching Portfolio.” She was an intern for a fourth-grade class at Oak Grove Elementary School with Mrs. Trish Sherlin’s class, which she has said will advance her future plans to become an elementary teacher.
Emily has been a member of FCCLA her entire high school career. Her sophomore year, she competed in the Star Events state competition, where she placed fourth. She has had perfect attendance for two years, was a Silver medalist at FCCLA state competition twice, and a first-place medalist at FCCLA district competition.
The remaining nine finalists hold similar accolades in their high school careers with FCCLA.
MariLiis Bateman studied sports medicine at Walker Valley, where she is a state honors graduate with distinction. Her leadership has been displayed within several programs at Walker Valley. She has worked with BETA, National Honors Society and HOSA for many service hours projects.
She also helped establish a food pantry for those in need at Walker Valley. Bateman is most known for her time spent teaching taekwondo to low-income children. She has also been recognized with the Dream Keeper’s Award, AAU Outstanding Athlete Award and 2020 Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award.
Sydney Brady, another Walker Valley graduate, has taken an interest in agriculture. She has served as FFA president, vice president and historian during her high school career. She also participated with Walker Valley’s CTE program at local, regional and state-level events. She has taken part in community service projects, livestock projects, judging events and leadership teams.
Brady also helped to facilitate community partnerships at local events, along with promoting Walker Valley’s program in the county. She has participated in the Athens Area Art Council Summer Camp and Cowpea Festival, and has served as her school’s 4-H Livestock Team mentor. She holds a number of CTE-related and FFA-related awards from her time in both programs.
Kylie Estrada is another Bear Scholar graduate of Bradley Central. She focused her CTE studies in Health Sciences and nursing. She is a vice president of the student council, Health Occupation Students of America, an officer of the National Honor Society, a member of the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy, and the founder of Court Cuties (a group that works the concession stand for the basketball games). Estrada has stayed actively involved at Bradley Central. By being a part of these clubs, she said she has grown to enjoy serving others.
She was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship to Lee University, where she has also completed 12 dual credit hours toward pre-nursing and was selected as a Lee University Rymer Scholar.
HaLee Kazy, a Cambridge scholar who will be receiving her AICE Diploma, has focused in Agricultural Sciences and is currently president of the FFA at Bradley Central High School.
She has attended various leadership training events, including FFA Leadership camp and 212/360 Leadership Conference. She is currently one of 18 state FFA officer candidates and hopes to continue helping lead the Tennessee FFA during the 2020-21 school year. As a BETA Club Member, she has attended the state convention, where she won first place in the state Ag-Science Quiz Bowl, where she and her team won a $500 scholarship for their first-place finish at Tennessee Tech’s Ag-Science Quiz Bowl in 2017.
She received six hours of college credit for being accepted and completing the 2019 Tennessee Governor’s School for Ag-Sciences. She has served as the chair of the Parliamentary Procedure Team for the last three years and has recently been recognized as the 2020 Boyd Trew Scholarship Recipient and the Dekalb Leadership Award.
Sydney Lawson has studied in the Therapeutic Services Program at Walker Valley High School where she graduated with honors and distinction. From the time she walked into Walker Valley, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. She is a licensed pharmacy technician at Central Drugstore and a certified clinical medical assistant. She has earned the Pharmacy Technician Certification and CCMA Certification at Lee University through dual credit courses.
She said her involvement in health science courses has helped her discover her passion for nursing, and she will begin pursuing a career as a nurse-midwife this fall.
Jacob Long has focused on mechatronics and principles of machining during his time spent at Bradley Central High School. Long often demonstrated his robots to multiple companies and to the school board during his high school career. Long was the head programmer in the state robotics team for SkillsUSA competitions and he served as the head programmer on the BETA Robotics Team, which placed first in the state and fifth in the nation.
He became the STEM Ambassador for BAYER in 2018 after winning an essay competition and scholarship to the Space Academy. He has accumulated dual-enrollment credits in machining with TCAT, as well as in mechatronics at Cleveland State Community College. With a Siemens Level 1 Certification and a NIMS Certification, he hopes to gain an engineering degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Kaylei Peak is a 2020 Bear Scholar graduate of Bradley Central, has focused in Audio/Visual Production and served as both president of the National Honor Society and vice president of SkillsUSA. She has planned, led and attended community service projects and has volunteered at several parent-involvement events at Oak Grove Elementary School.
In April 2019, Kaylei and a partner used technical skills they had acquired in A/V Production classes to create a PSA that showcased the importance of CTE courses to compete at the state level in the National SkillsUSA competition.
In November, she competed in the technology portion of the Tennessee BETA Convention, taking third place and is now eligible to compete at the National Beta Convention in June. Her studies have inspired her to pursue journalism as a career.
MaKaylah Shoemate also focused in mechatronics at Walker Valley, where she served as club treasurer for Junior Civitan for three years and in Interact as the Appalachian District Governor. She also took part in STEM leadership and was an ambassador for Your Skills Your Future. She said these leadership positions allowed her to participate in many community projects and share their importance.
She has competed in the Engineering Technology and Design contest and placed first in the state in 2018 and third in the state in 2019. She participated in the Occupational Safety Health Administration 10-hour industry certification.
After high school, she plans to attend Cleveland State and participat in the Advanced Technology Institute, having already earned 12 credit hours from her dual-enrollment courses.
Maggie Thompson concentrated in the Teaching as a Profession career cluster during her time at Walker Valley High School. Thompson has been a strong leader in the classroom, according to her teachers, and she tries her best to lead others in finding ways to participate.
Her Career Technical Student Organization Participation included “Educators Rising,” where she prepared pencils and notes for students preparing for state testing. She was awarded the Calhoun Alumni Scholarship which will be put toward her schooling at Cleveland State.