Toyota, Kanawha County Schools announce inaugural class of 4T Academy

The 22 students part of the first West Virginia Toyota 4T Academy.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly two dozen students from across Kanawha County have been selected to be part of West Virginia’s first Toyota 4T Academy.

The academy is a two-year education and manufacturing program that introduces high school juniors and seniors to a career in manufacturing. Twenty-two students signed the dotted line and put on Toyota 4T Academy hats in front of friends and family Thursday in Charleston.

One of the students in the inaugural class is Aven Carter, a Rising Junior at Capital High School. He told 580-WCHS the academy seemed like a natural fit to him.

“In general I like cars and I was interested. Then I went to the Toyota center and they made me feel comfortable. I liked the environment,” Carter said.

The program gives students on-the-job experience assembling engines and transmissions at the plant. The Toyota 4T Academy, based out of Ben Franklin Career Center, stands for team, teach, together, and Toyota.

“If they go through the complete program and decide it’s a good fit for them, they will have the opportunity to stay in West Virginia and provide for their families,” Dr. Tom Williams, Superintendent, Kanawha County Schools told 580-WCHS following the ceremony.

Carter visited the Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia in Buffalo during the application process. More than 50 students applied to participate in the inaugural academy.

“This gives me a future straight out of high school and I love the opportunity,” Carter said.

The inaugural class will begin in the 2022-2023 school year. Students will participate in a classroom learning module at the school and then transition to the plant, working alongside Toyota’s employees. The 4T Academy was developed locally via a collaborative effort with partners from across the education spectrum including Kanawha County Schools, The Education Alliance, and Purdue University’s Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center.

The following students were selected for the academy:

Rising Juniors:
Aven Carter, Capital
Reagan Meadows, Capital
Julia Stinson, George Washington
John Allen, Nitro
Cambrien Thomas, Nitro
Noah Dean, St. Albans
Brayden Fugate, St. Albans
Katelyn Loudermilk, South Charleston
Luke Jordan, Sissonville
Justin Phillips, Sissonville

Rising Seniors:
Elijah Anderson, Capital
Dylan Hundley ,Capital
Jaedon Lane, Capital
Samantha Packard, Capital
Gavynn Sutton, Capital
Ethan Smith, Nitro
Kevin Holmes, St. Albans
Dawson Shank, St. Albans
Jaxon Perry, South Charleston
Maricca Franquez, South Charleston
Blake Johnson, Sissonville
Luis “Anthoni” Silva, Sissonville