05 Dec Remember Kaylee Hensley?
Remember Kaylee Hensley, the junior from Ooltewah High School, selected to attend the Volkswagen Mechatronics Akademie this fall? We had a chance to catch up with her about her progress, expectations, and experience thus far. In a former article about Kaylee, she expressed interest and passion for pursuing a career in welding.
David Cowan says your group has actually enjoyed the difficulty of the Academy. Do you agree? If so, why?
“I totally agree. I think it’s a great opportunity. Yes, there is a lot of work, but it’s like a puzzle: it’s difficult as you go, but you will be able to look back and see the results of your progress later. I can see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together and I am able to see the big picture of why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to keep pushing forward because I’m the only one from Ooltewah and I want to represent my school well.”
Are you still passionate about welding, and what has been the most valuable aspect of the Academy so far?
“Yes, I am. I am looking forward to starting welding classes in January. So far, we have been learning about safety, which has been the most valuable part of our curriculum. The amount of adults who don’t pay attention to safety issues has really surprised me, because most of it seems like common sense. We have learned that safety is the most important issue.”
Have there been any parts of the Academy that have surprised you?
“I was surprised at the amount of book work we have, but I have just been focusing on the great opportunity I have. This mindset has helped realize that I really need to kick it into gear. I went from having f’s at the beginning of the semester to being on the honor roll.”
What has been the hardest change and how have you learned to adjust?
“The hardest change is not having the same people to talk to that I had at my old school. I was used to talking to my group of friends about problems and things that are going on, but I kind of had to fend for myself in the beginning. I have become closer to couple of other girls in the academy which has made things easier. Another thing that has been difficult is that I have band at 2:45 at Ooltewah, so I have to work on time management and it’s hard to be on time for everything when I am going back and forth between schools.”
What advice would you give to students like you who may have the opportunity to learn at the academy?
“Don’t take it for granted! It is hard work, but it will pay off. The Academy helps you learn to take responsibility and respect deadlines. You will hate it at times, you will also love it at times.”
We at Pathways to Prosperity of Southeast Tennessee are rooting for you, Kaylee! Good luck in your spring semester!
We thank Volkswagen of Chattanooga for their continued partnership with students at the high school level.
For more information about the VW Mechatronics Akademie, see the EDGE Article entitled “Chattanooga’s Volkswagen Academy starts high school juniors on path to high-paying jobs.”