BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — A $121,000 donation by Withlacoochee River Electric to Central High School is helping shape young bright minds of tomorrow.

What You Need To Know

Sarah Elting is a senior at Central High School in Brooksville, getting hands on experience on what it takes to be an EKG technician. 

“We’re going to see what your blood pressure is like today,” she said while testing her skill on another student in class. 

Looking at her in action, she’s a natural but she’ll be the first to tell you she never thought she’d be here.

“My dream was to be a pastry chef,” Elting said.

The time she’s spent in the lab has opened her eyes to a career she never thought she’d pursue.

“Once I got talked into the career, in this program, I started getting the hang of it, and it’s really an amazing program,” she said.

The Career and Technical Program at Central High School allows students to practice what they’ve learned in the textbooks.

The donation was made by Withlacoochee River Electric. (Katya Guillaume/Spectrum Bay News 9)

Elting said, “It just kind of creates that realness that we have and we do scenarios and it’s just actually putting us in it, visioning us in a hospital but at school.”

From nursing, to welding, to culinary, and ROTC, these kids are getting real-world experience all before graduating high school.

Beth Lastra is the supervisor of the program. She said, “Our goal is to prepare them as best as possible, working with our local community leaders, try to work on curriculum, pair things as best as we can together so that they are able to get into the work force.” 

The community’s support, she said, will make sure each program has all the necessary equipment needed for everyone to be successful.

“Our culinary program, we’re trying to simulate a real restaurant, a real culinary. In our welding lab, they are looking at a plasma table which takes it to the next level in terms of welding. I mean it’s going to be great,” Lastra.

For those in nursing, a new hospital lab is in the works so that students like Elting will find their next career move.

Elting hopes to combine her passion for culinary and nursing and become a dietary technician.  

Students receive a certificate upon completion that they can use to start working right away or transfer into college credits, depending on their career path.