MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley school district is giving students a chance to start exploring different career paths at an early age.
Brianna Garcia Rocha, an 8th-grade student at the Madera Technical Exploration Center, is well on her way to a career in engineering.
"I chose CTE because I was interested in learning about the different careers and what choices I had growing up," explained Rocha.
MadTEC, as it's known to students, is the only school of its kind in the Central Valley and is strictly for 8th grade students.
"This was something our district believed in. Bringing to kids at a younger age and to have that ability going into high school of having a direction and a path they want to pursue," said principal Alyson Rocco.
Founded in 2021, the school is now home to 800 students.
The school offers six different career pathways to students, including engineering, agriculture, health science and performing arts among others.
"Our goal for them is career exploration. they might love the career they explored at Madera tech or they might think that careers not for them," said Laura Quiroz, dean of curriculum.
Students can make the choice to attend the school in 7th grade. Then, in their 8th grade year, classes will be split.
"Their 8th grade year they bus from one of our 8th grade schools to MadTEC for half the day and they're on their home site campus the other half of the day," Rocco explained.
It's all in an effort to give students, like Rocha, an early introduction to different career paths.
"I've gotten more interested in engineering and manufacturing after getting a bigger idea of what it's like and what we do," Rocha explained.
To attend MadTEC, Madera unified students must apply in advance. Applicants will be chosen from a lottery system.