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Fairview High School senior Ciclaly Lopez, at left, and Boulder Universal senior Devika Grywalski work on a skeletal project during Medical, Anatomy and Physiology class at the Arapahoe Campus on Thursday in Boulder. For more photos of students in class at the Arapahoe Campus go to dailycamera.com
Jeremy Papasso Staff Photographer Aug. 24, 2017
Fairview High School senior Ciclaly Lopez, at left, and Boulder Universal senior Devika Grywalski work on a skeletal project during Medical, Anatomy and Physiology class at the Arapahoe Campus on Thursday in Boulder. For more photos of students in class at the Arapahoe Campus go to dailycamera.com ...

If you go

What: Boulder Technical Education Center's 50th anniversary

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: 6600 Arapahoe Road, Boulder

Fifty years after the Boulder Technical Education Center opened to provide vocational training to Boulder Valley students, the center is continuing to change so it can prepare students for careers.

The center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Thursday, is updating its vision and looking at creating pathways from middle school through college, said Arapahoe Campus Principal Joan Bludorn.

"We want to offer what the kids need for their future," she said. "We have so many opportunities."

The Boulder Valley school board started the program in 1967, giving students training to become secretaries, welders and mechanics.

While secretarial training is a thing of the past, the automotive program is still going strong and welding is again becoming a good career option.

The district also is looking at offering a P-TECH program that allows students to earn both a high school diploma and associate's degree while still in high school.

Other possibilities include a medical technology program in partnership with Ball Aerospace and a STEM program. The center already partners with Front Range Community College to offer college-level classes, as well as offering industry certificates.

The technical education program combined with Arapahoe Ridge High School about 10 years ago under one leadership team at Arapahoe Campus.

Now, Bludorn said, the two are becoming more separate, allowing her to focus on the technical side, including spending more time providing support at the middle schools.

"What's come out of the visioning work is we want a more robust TEC program in our district," she said.

Centaurus High senior Marcos Mendoza works to buff out a part of a car during an auto collision class at the Arapahoe Campus in Boulder on Aug. 24.
Centaurus High senior Marcos Mendoza works to buff out a part of a car during an auto collision class at the Arapahoe Campus in Boulder on Aug. 24. (

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

At Thursday's celebration, Virgina Patterson, who was on the school board when the program was started, is set to speak. So is current school board member Kathy Gebhardt and health science teacher Kristie Levitt.

Bludorn said she's hoping to see many past students and teachers at the event, which will include memorabilia from the school's history.

"Thousands and thousands of kids have come through these doors," she said. "It's just very cool. I'm excited to see who comes."

Amy Bounds: 303-473-1341, [email protected] or twitter.com/boundsa

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