Acquiring a taste for the trades
BRUNSWICK — All eighth-graders about to go on to the three high schools that send students to Maine Region 10 Technical High School in Brunswick, got a chance this week to find out about some of the programs the school offers — and to get their hands dirty learning some new hands-on skills.
On Thursday, students from Mt. Ararat Middle School visited. In addition to Mt. Ararat High School, Brunswick and Freeport high schools send students to the regional technical high school on Church Road.
The students completed orientation programs for four different programs of the several Region 10 Technical High Schools offers. Instructors in Metal Fabrication and Welding Gerry St. Denis and Ray Brunner, with the help of some students, showed visiting eighth-graders this week how to make a metal plant holder.
Cody Caron lives in Harpswell and is a sophomore at Mt. Ararat High School. He helped Brown and other students visiting the Metal Fabrication and Welding program.
“I’d actually love to do this for a career,” Caron said. “I really want to get into architectural engineering and welding buildings,” or even at the shipyard at Bath Iron Works.
He said the number of welders at BIW who will likely retire within the next few years means brand new welders with certification should be able to get jobs fairly easily by 2013 or 2014, when he will graduate.
Without the Region Ten school, where he comes each school day, Caron questions if he’d be in school or working instead.
“You come out knowing a lot of good skills,” Caron, 15, said. “ I can use every machine in this shop and still have quality workmanship. I’ve done everything from shielded metal arch welding, to tigging,” the latter a method used more for aluminum and stainless steel work.
Alexis Koutsikos, a senior in the Automotive Technology, plans to attend a technical college for automotive technology. On Thursday, Koutsikos said she really likes the hands-on component of the automotive work.
The students in the program are like a family, she said, though, “You have to be a tough girl.” She often gets paired with girls during orientations, and pushes them to get their hands dirty too.
As one eighth-grader carried his newly constructed wooden stool with him out the door to the buses to depart Thursday, he said to no one in particular, “Best day ever.”
Information about the school is available online at www.r10tech.org.