Elkhorn Crossing School recently held a ribbon cutting for its new engineering technology village.

Students with certain engineering technology skills and looking for a way to cash in on those skills have a new training option with the Engineering Technology Village at Elkhorn Crossing School.

The Engineering Technology School will also be open to freshmen, who previously had not been able to participate.

Susan Von Behren, the engineering technology teacher, said this village offers more hands-on options for students.

“The engineering village is more design-based, while the engineering technology village is an implementation of all they have learned,” she said. “It is more hands-on. For example they will have training on the robotics that Toyota uses.”

She and village teacher colleagues, Deana Cummins, who teaches math, and Jordan Elliott, who teaches English, said students graduating from the village will have the skills and certification necessary to land valuable jobs.

“This provides them opportunities that as soon as they exit high school, they will have the skills to go into industry,” Von Behren said.

The new village is a realization of what could happen, Elliott said.

“I would say this has been a dream for years now. I think always in the back of our minds we thought it would be a reality that this would happen one day and we are excited about it.”

More than 100 students have signed up, and the trio does three classes in the morning and three in the afternoon.

Elliott and Cummins said their job is to connect core content to the students’ projects they have throughout the year. That gives them the chance to incorporate math and English into the engineering projects.

“They will be presenting their projects in front of people actually in the field, such as Toyota employees,” Cummins said. “The students are learning communication skills which is important in presenting their plans.”

All freshmen will take introduction to engineering and design, and as sophomores, they can decide whether to go through the engineering village or the engineering technology village. Project Lead the Way is involved with the engineering village.

During the ribbon cutting, Matt Nunn with Toyota Tsusho America donated $8,400 to the program to purchase supplies and equipment the students will be using.

Junior Dane Childress said having Toyota in Georgetown’s backyard was a big factor in him choosing engineering technology.

“Coming to high school, I was doing general engineering, but once I got into it, I started focusing on technology and manufacturing,” he said. “The opportunity to get hired out of high school and have the certification to get a good job was a big factor.”

Steve McClain can be reached at

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