The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

February 17, 2014

Learning the practical applications of engineering

Classes designed by Project Lead The Way


In Madison County, PLTW-designed classes are offered at Pendleton Heights, Anderson High School and Highland Middle School, according to the organization.

Klipsch took drafting and architecture classes as a student at Shenandoah High School, but technical education has changed dramatically since then.

“When I went to school, if I had known about engineering the way these guys do, I’d probably be doing something totally different right now,” he said. “But I didn’t know in the late 1980s what engineering was really about.”

About 150 students are enrolled in PLTW classes at Pendleton Heights, Kliipsch said. And as part of their course work, the students have opportunities to interview working engineers to learn what the profession is really like.

While a lot of student class work involves computers, seeing images displayed on a screen actually come to life is a key part of the curriculum as well.

“With this generation it’s all right here,” Klipsch said, pointing to a smartphone. “It’s good to pull them away from that and get them working with their hands so they can apply some of the things we’re teaching them come to life.”

Although 16-year-old Lucas Collett Jr. said he’s interested in public speaking, he nevertheless is pursuing a technical honor high school diploma and said he was drawn to Klipsch’s class because “architecture is really cool and I’m interested in design.”

Kelsee Wendling, one of only a small number of girls involved in the engineering program, said her interest was sparked by her father, a mechanical engineer who works for General Motors Corp. However, the 17-year-old junior said she plans to attend Purdue University, become a software engineer and eventually go to work for Apple.

Nearby, 18-year-old Levi McIntire showed off a two-bedroom Habitat for Humanity house he designed.

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