RUMFORD — The freshmen from both Dirigo and Mountain Valley High Schools recently toured Region 9, School of Applied Technology to learn about the wide variety of courses offered. The students visited the “shops” for each of the nine programs. Region 9 students and teachers explained their program.
Many students found one or more programs that they would like to learn more about. They will be able to do so by asking the program teacher to visit for a day.
Austin Orwald said he liked the employability skills program “because it seems like you do fun stuff in it.” The employability skills program prepares students for entry level jobs in food service, janitorial/maintenance, carpentry, small engine repair, sheet metal or retail.
Fun also entered the choice for Curtis Steele who was interested in metal trades. “I like metal, working hard and it seems fun.”
CNA and early childhood education interested Shannon Newcomb.
She explained, “I’m interested in these because I want to help with babies in hospitals or be a kindergarten teacher. I like children!”
Economics drove some students. Natasha Munzer wants to persue CNA because “being a CNA would give me money for a car and college.”
“Truck driving seems like a good way to make money,” said Kaleb Gatchell.
Some students tied their choice of programs to current interests or hobbies. Building construction and forestry/wood harvesting attracted Eric Thomas. He has liked to build things since he was 5 and is an outdoorsman.
Finally, Logan Child added, “Computer technology is my choice because I have always liked the circuits and stuff.”
Just as each student chose one program or more of interest, several enjoyed hands-on activities at some of the programs.
Josh Kelley enjoyed sitting in the driver’s seat of the 18-wheeler while Danielle Thibodeau liked getting dressed up as a firefighter in the fire science program.
“The highlight is all the machines in the metal shop,” said Ross Gross, even though he was most impressed with the automotive program.
Throughout the tour, the Region 9 teachers hit on several common themes, regardless of the program. They stressed earning credits at the sending school, attendance and working hard.
“From Region 9 teachers, I heard most frequently that you can’t slack off your freshmen and sophomore year and then expect to do the Region 9 program,” Brooke Sweetser said.
Alicia White said “If you decide to go to Region 9, take it very seriously, because it’s more like a job than a class.”
Again, economics came up as another theme.
Kenzie Irish heard, “Signing up for truck driving in high school would only be $35 but out of high school it would be close to $5000.”
While the freshmen have two years before they are eligible for most Region 9 programs, it is not too early to begin planning. If a student is interested in a Region 9 program, they have two things to do. First, schedule a day at Region 9 to see the program up close. Second, pass all their classes and accumulate credits so they will have room in their schedules for Region 9.