Meet LPS Focus Program Scholar: Sapphire, The Career Academy

Lincoln Public Schools Focus Programs are a customized high school experience rooted in connection and opportunities. 

LPS offers almost a dozen focus programs for our scholars to choose their journeys like Southwest High School senior Sapphire. 

Sapphire likes using her hands and creating something new. One of her favorite childhood movies, The Iron Giant, sparked an interest in welding after seeing one of its characters transform scraps of metal. 

Now, Sapphire explores that interest and transforms her own metal scraps into pieces of art daily by attending the Welding and Precision Machining pathways at The Career Academy (TCA)

Read more about Sapphire’s TCA experience in this Q&A as she is November’s featured Focus Program Scholar. 

Name: Sapphire

Home High School: Southwest High School

Grade: 12

Focus Program: The Career Academy (Welding and Precision Machining pathways)

Why did you choose The Career Academy?

I registered into the welding pathway initially because of my freshman year welding and manufacturing instructor, Mr. Jochum. My second year, I added the first and second year of machining to attend TCA full-time. 

What do you like most about The Career Academy?

I love that we are able to take what we need from our academics. Within the more hands-on classes, we are able to work on personal projects alongside school assignments in order to expand our skills to our individual needs. 

How do you get to explore your passions or interests at The Career Academy?

With the vast amount of opportunities in and out of TCA, businesses send speakers out and allow us to visit their businesses quite often. Job fairs allow us to explore different careers at once and let our names be known to different companies. 

How has attending The Career Academy empowered you as a student?

The habits of success that are taught are more than just taught, they are ingrained into our memory and behavior, thus allowing us to grow as students or rather as individuals. 

What are your relationships with other students and staff like at The Career Academy?

My teachers, instructors and peers have become like family. Instructors and teachers are always happy to help if a student is in need or if we need someone to talk to. Students have each other's backs and form lasting friendships.

How has being a part of a LPS Focus Program added to your high school experience?

Attending TCA has enhanced my high school experience by offering me opportunities and experiences to learn things (like welding and machining) that I would not have had at Southwest.  

How has The Career Academy prepared you for the future?

TCA not only focuses on skills like welding and machining, but all of the students learn important life lessons such as accountability, self-advocacy and professionalism that impact myself and others regardless of what we do after high school. 

Why are focus programs like The Career Academy important to high school students?

The importance of these programs is the fact that they are important to the individual – focusing on what an individual student wants to pursue or has a passion for. 

What is the greatest thing you’ve learned since attending The Career Academy? 

One of the greatest lessons I have learned at TCA is that I am capable of much more than I ever thought possible at a young age, and that not only can I learn these skills, but I can also help others learn them as well.  

Choose your passion. Choose your community. Choose your future with LPS Focus Programs. 

Learn more about The Career Academy at

Don’t forget to also explore LPS Focus Programs by looking at upcoming events at

Published: November 22, 2023, Updated: February 1, 2024

Meet LPS Focus Program Scholar Sapphire, a senior at The Career Academy Focus Program.