Shihadeh Center to take form on Jefferson Street

“He goes, ‘It needs welders, it needs nurses. It doesn’t need another trillion dollars in student loan debt.’”

— Fred Schaufeld, quoting his father-in-law Emil Shihadeh

“They basically devalued the skills of those who work with their hands and with their minds, and that’s a terrible thing to be saying to our young people. That’s why I care so much about it.”

— Karen Schaufeld, Emil Shihadeh’s daughter

If only these words could resonate throughout the nation, informing folks of the critical importance of Career Technical Education (CTE). Put simply, the United States needs welders, carpenters, health-care technicians, masons, tool-and-dye workers, and master machinists every but as much as it needs a plethora of lawyers, engineers, and architects.

In so many ways, the professions complement each other. No architect would witness the fruition of his building plans without the work of welders, machinists, and carpenters.

No one knew this better than Emil Shihadeh, a child of Palestinian parents and a welder by trade who consistently told his son-in-law Mr. Schaufeld that the work-a-day world is not composed of investment bankers and hedge-fund managers alone. How correct he was; some people are meant to work with their hands as well as their minds, and many can attain these skills without going to college.

Karen Schaufeld took her father’s words to heart and put her family’s money where her mouth was. Sensing a good team with which to work in the Winchester Public Schools across the mountain from her Loudoun home, she and her husband donated $1 million toward the $13.7 scholastic enterprise named for her parents (Emil and Grace, a retired nurse) that is scheduled to open next fall at 536 Jefferson St. once graced by John Kerr Elementary School. The school system broke ground for the new center Monday.

The facility’s program will feature three academies: information technology, professional skills, and health sciences. Toward the last of these disciplines, Valley Health contributed $125,000. One of the academies will be named after the region’s medical provider.

“This is just like icing on top of the cake,” WPS Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum told Valley Health CEO Mark Merrill.

Apt words and true, to be sure, but if not for the cake baked by the Shihadehs and Schaufelds, whither the icing? Where would it go?

This speaks to the true value of a genuine team effort, and of the good fortune showered on the shoulders of Winchester secondary-school students whose talents point to the professions nurtured by Career Technical Education.

(1) comment

Spock Here

Excellent! This needs to be emphasized and encouraged more.

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