Old Colony celebrates success in cooperative collaborations
On May 10, Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School administrators showed off the hands-on education and real-world connections available to vocational students as part of the state's "Leading the Nation" week.
The weeklong event was an opportunity for schools and communities to showcase students' academic and creative successes, said officials from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The vocational school hosted, "Educating for the Future—2020 and Beyond." The event brought into focus Old Colony's partnerships with local businesses and community organizations, which Old Colony Superintendent Aaron Polansky said were particularly relevant in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.
Representatives from Lockheed Martin, Edaville Family Theme Park, UMass Dartmouth and Electromechanica, Inc., lined the floor of Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School. All of the businesses and organizations provide co-op work study positions for Old Colony students.
As part of the event, Massachusetts Education Secretary James Peyser spoke to the assembled audience.
"Only about 20 percent of students attend vocational schools in Massachusetts," he said. "That means that the other 80 percent of students don't have early access to the hard skills that vocational schools teach, nor the option to try out different careers."
Old Colony senior Erin Taylor has already done professional graphic design work for several music bands who have toured nationally. She is also working with Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver as a graphic design intern, and plans to attend Johnson & Wales University in the fall.
Taylor thanked her Old Colony Education for her early success. "I've had the opportunity to do professional work in the music industry because of my education," she said. "I learned skills that most college kids won't see until deep into their college careers."
Taylor, Peyser, Polansky and several school alumni and cooperative partners then performed a ribbon-cutting, meant to introduce new technology to the high school. Old Colony recently received a $577,179 grant from the state, as part of Massachusetts' "Skills Capital Grant Program."
"The program’s intent is to increase the capacity and quality of vocational training and education by providing funds to eligible schools and institutions for the purchase/installation of capital equipment," the program's website says.
At Old Colony, that meant new technology in four different technology-based vocational departments: Machine & Tool Technology; Electronics Engineering Technology; House & Mill Carpentry and Electrical.
Old Colony students were available to lead tours which showcased the new technology.