Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe was transformed from a high school into a hover craft landing station recently.

Dozens of Penn-Kidder students participating in the Middle School Career Club visited the high school in late May to learn about a career in carpentry.

During the two-hour event, the students got the opportunity to build working hover crafts and hula hoops with the help of Jeff Bobish, carpentry instructor at CCTI; and Ben Peruso, a professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Rachel Strucko, one of the program's leaders, explained that the Middle School Career Club was started earlier this year by LCCC as a way to help teach middle school students about various careers. Currently, students at Lehighton Middle School, L.B. Morris and Penn-Kidder schools participated in the program. Panther Valley Middle School will be completing the five-week session over the summer.

Strucko explained that the club concentrates on high priority occupations in Pennsylvania, such as logistics and transportation; business and finance; diversified manufacturing; and health care.

Peruso added that the philosophy behind the program is having the children do hands-on projects outside the classroom while mixing in classroom exercises. This, he said, helps produce a well-rounded student with knowledge about a career he or she would like to pursue.

He noted that by making hula hoops, it is teaching the students about math.

Bobish, who has been teaching carpentry at CCTI for three-and-a-half years, said the club is a great idea because it helps to teach the students at a young age.

In high school, students learn similar skills in carpentry and other career areas. For example, CCTI students are currently in the process of finishing up a house in Jim Thorpe that they are building as a project. These skills are the same ones the middle school students learned through building hover crafts.

Funding for the Middle School Career Club was received through the Department of Education and a community based jobs grant, both secured by LCCC.

Other classes that participated in this five-week program learned a variety of occupations, from visiting area businesses to making lemonade stands and other projects.