BILLERICA, MA — It was a family affair at Shawsheen Tech on Thursday, Jan. 18 as the school opened its doors to eighth grade students and parents, for a two-hour self-guided exploration of the 21 vocational and technical shops, plus numerous academic demonstrations in all major academic disciplines. Many of the attendees expressed their interest in attending Shawsheen Tech in the fall as the Feb. 1 application deadline approaches.
Jobee O’Sullivan, the Director of Guidance and Health Services, and her staff organized Career Night for both prospective students as well as current ninth graders at Shawsheen, many of whom are still considering their choice for a technical shop for the remainder of their years at the Tech.
“The purpose of Career Night is for prospective students and their families to be educated about career and technical education by observing current students demonstrating technical skills in their chosen fields, enabling guests to experience technical education through hands-on activities, and speak with professionals knowledgeable in their field; additionally, guests had the opportunity to learn more about our academic, athletic and extra-curricular offerings,” O’Sullivan explained.
Many families took advantage of the opportunity including Quinn Flaherty, who attended with his father, Tim Flaherty. Flaherty, a Burlington resident, said he came to check out the school and see if it’s a fit. Quinn harbors a passion for baseball and computer science.
Tyler Leeds, an 8th grader from Tewksbury was very clear about what sparks his interest in attending Shawsheen – the plumbing shop. Tyler self-identifies as a “hands-on” learner and is drawn to the construction trades. Leeds also mentioned the electrical and HVAC shops as potential homes for his apprenticeship education, but plumbing is his first choice.
Members of the DeSantis family, Grace and Gabrielle, share an enthusiasm for attending Shawsheen, an interest that is very much supported by their mother, Christine. Grace embraces all things artistic and hopes to pursue a career in graphic design, while her sister Gabrielle would like to fulfill her dream of becoming a cosmetologist. Christine DeSantis accompanied her twin daughters on the school tour observing that Shawsheen offers her daughters a safe and friendly environment. She said she believes Shawsheen offers the hands-on educational model that promotes career success.
Many prospective students and parents ventured into the Health and Life Science wing including Emily Dagenais and her brothers Matthew and Sam. Emily, Matt and Sam are eighth graders in Billerica and expect to join their sister Alyssa, currently a sophomore at the Tech, when Shawsheen welcomes the freshmen class of 2018. Emily hopes to follow Alyssa’s footsteps into the Dental Assisting program with expectations of entering the dental hygienist profession. Matthew, too, envisions a career in health care as an anesthesiologist, and his likely choice at Shawsheen would be the Health Assisting program. The outlier in the Dagenais family could be Sam, who wants to carve his own career path as an electrician, and is equally enthusiastic about joining his three siblings next fall.
The experience of Career Night was greatly enhanced for all attendees by the presence of industry representatives from local companies who were on hand in nearly every shop to provide the real-world validation as to the benefits of career and technical education as seen through the eyes of an employer. More than 20 employer representatives gave of their time, including Lisa Carazza, as a very strong supporter of the Cosmetology Program from the company SuperCuts. These industry representatives are strongly linked to the Tech as Shop Advisory Committee members and/or Cooperative Placement Program employers.
According to Jobee O’Sullivan, the guidance and admissions staff will begin holding eighth grade interviews during the months of February and March. O’Sullivan adds that applications are being accepted on-line with the deadline of Feb. 1. For more information, visit http://www.shawsheentech.org/admissions/.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Shawsheen Tech.)
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