Ben Caldwell ’06 is an automotive instructor at A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville. He teaches four different automotive courses, covering everything from basic maintenance to advanced electrical work.
“My favorite part of the job is when I see my students working and being successful in the automotive industry,” he said.
Caldwell’s Career and Technical Education (BS) - Trade and Industry Education degree from Appalachian State University prepared him for the position.
“I really enjoyed getting to take all of the hands-on classes in the CTE (career and technical education) program, like my students now enjoy in my class. The faculty members were great, both in class and as advisors. They definitely provided the guidance I needed to get the certificate I got in both trade and industry and tech education,” he said.
“The most useful parts of my education were my education courses directly pertaining to CTE classes, which involved facility planning, classroom management, safety, career and technical student organizations, etc. One of the first courses I took was Society and Technology with Dr. Hoepfl. This course is what encouraged me to get a concentration in sustainable development. This concentration allowed me to see how the automotive industry has such a big impact on our society.”
Caldwell started out at another university and transferred to Appalachian for its “much smaller school feeling,” as well as its great outdoor activities.
“I would recommend Appalachian to potential students due to the size of the school, the location in the state, and the great faculty,” he said.
In hindsight, he said, he wished he’d taken greater advantage of opportunities at Watauga High School, just a short distance from campus. “They have a great CTE program. Larry Jones, the automotive teacher, has one of the best programs in the state. I did a few observations, but I should have been there as much as he would have me,” Caldwell said.