Once a year, North Central Kansas Technical College hosts its annual Showcase Day.

It’s that one time in the fall when the school opens its doors on the Hays campus to a large group of high school students from across Kansas to visit. Students ranging from freshmen to seniors are welcome to sign up to come with their high school group.

Hosting the event today, NCK Tech was expecting between 10 to 15 high schools to be in attendance. Showcase Day has been one of the technical college’s most popular events for giving visitors a hands-on experience.

“It always gets a lot of interest,” Student Service Coordinator Lexi Pfannenstiel said of Showcase Day. “I know in the past, we’ve had a pretty significant number on registration.”

Pfannenstiel, who is taking part in her first Showcase Day, said they are expecting groups from as far away as Rossville and Chaparral — both coming from more than 150 miles away.

Known for its “hands-on” approach to teaching, NCK Tech gives the students just that for the visitation day. For registration, the students are to pick three different programs they wish to tour. While they are in the department, instructors and students give the high school students a rundown of what they do and also give them a chance to sample what is involved in that field.

“I know there seems to be a real big transition and focus into technical education studies and hands-on things,” Pfannenstiel said. “Students understand what kind of positition that puts them in after graduation.”

In the colleges departments, ranging from car automotive and carpentry to culinary, nursing, welding, HVAC and business technology and other fields, the college is to have them all open to the students.

“I can remember we’ve seen kids for several years (come to Showcase Day),” NCK Tech Dean Sandy Gottschalk said. “They’ll keep coming back. They want to see different things. So it’s cool when you can grab their attention at that level. You’re planting that seed early, and they want to come back just to check everything out.”