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Typical coursework from standard classes in most high schools only gives understanding about the little things, like the book knowledge required to pursue a certain occupation—APEX, on the other hand, leads students up the steps to achieving a greater, more comprehensive understanding about the workforce, professional skills, and interpersonal communication without being thrown head-first into the “real world” straight out of college. Through APEX, we students learn soft skills vital to our success in future: working efficiently in a professional work setting, realizing the importance of achieving goals, and communicating effectively with associates. We spend time working with real business partners fixing real challenges that their companies face.

Currently, I am enrolled in a class called Engineering Technology and Robotics, a specific branch within the APEX program. Our business partner Accumold, a micro-plastic fabrication company, offers us various assignments for APEX students to work on. One task that we have been assigned to complete is to design, program, and build a robotic arm that grabs small plastic parts that come out of an injection mold. As the project manager of this task, I have been exposed to various different learning opportunities, something I may not have experienced in high school without APEX. I am responsible for planning the course of action for the completion of the project, properly delegating tasks to my team members, ensuring effective communication with the client, as well as organizing meetings with business partners.

The Waukee APEX program offers educational opportunities unparalleled by any teaching system I have ever experienced, and I firmly believe that every student has much to benefit by utilizing it.