As a middle school student, Kelsey Stockton attended Salem County Vocational Technical School District’s (SCVTS) 21st Century Career Exploration summer program. That set her on a path that has led to both academic and career success.
“Thanks to that summer experience, I was given a sneak peek into the programs at SCVTS and became acquainted with the campus,” said Stockton. “The academic rigor of the district’s programs stood out. It felt like the right place for me, and it proved to be true.”
Stockton, a native of Quinton Township, applied as an eighth-grade student to attend SCVTS for high school. She was accepted into the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and while enrolled, opted to participate in SCVTS’ Air Force JROTC program.
“It was surprising and different,” said Stockton of the JROTC program. “This additional involvement strengthened my character, leadership, and discipline.”
During her time at SCVTS, Stockton’s academic highlights included completing several dual-credit classes at Salem Community College. She earned an associate’s degree by the end of her senior year of high school. She went on to Rutgers University to study environmental and business economics with a concentration in food industry economics.
“Both SCVTS and Phi Theta Kappa (Salem Community College’s honor society) further supported my higher education by gifting me scholarship awards to offset the cost to attend Rutgers,” said Stockton. “There is no better way to prepare students for higher education than by giving them the opportunity to take a class or two (or more) at the local community college while in high school.”
Stockton currently works as a commercialization planner at the beverage manufacturer Lassonde Pappas & Company, Inc. She manages new item launches, formula/packaging changes, and item discontinuations.
“It is because of the SCVTS Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE), my involvement in FFA (Future Farmers of America), the instructors who always supported me, and the dual-credit program with Salem Community College that I could build a strong network and skill set for a career in the food industry,” concluded Stockton. “Now, my plan for the future is quite simple. I see myself staying in the food industry, securing a management role to help lead a team, and potentially pursuing an MBA.”
Throughout Career and Technical Education Month in February, the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools showcases how CTE works by sharing success stories from alumni of the 21 county vocational-technical schools.