RUMFORD — Scores of parents, grandparents, friends and other family members nearly filled Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School on Wednesday for the annual awards night for Vocational Region 9 School of Applied Technology.

Many of the 150 vocational students stood on stage, then stepped forward as student services coordinator Cheryl Ellis read the names of colleges many of the graduating seniors will attend in the fall. They included Central Maine Community College, Southern Maine Community College, University of Maine, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Kennebec Valley Community College and Husson University.

One student plans to head to Alaska after graduation to put his logging skills to work there. Several others will enter the military, while still others plan to enter the workforce.

Dirigo High School Principal Michael Poulin and Telstar High School Principal Dan Hart congratulated the students on their successes at the Mexico school.

Poulin was particularly proud of Misty Steward, a Dirigo High School senior in Region 9’s early childhood program who was Student of the Year at the vocational school. She plans to enter college in an elementary education program in the fall.

Poulin also recognized the staff at the school.

“They do an amazing job here,” he said. “I’m impressed with the level of instruction and the passion of the kids.”

Hart pointed out that many Region 9 students leave their programs with certificates and state licenses that prepare them for immediate work.

“When you go back to your sending schools, thank them and your families. We are all gifts to each other,” he said.

Region 9 serves vocational students from Dirigo, Mountain Valley and Telstar high schools in Dixfield, Rumford and Bethel, respectively.

Mountain Valley Principal Matt Gilbert was unable to attend Wednesday’s awards event.

RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward said the district is proud of the Region 9 staff and vocational director Brenda Gammon.

Caleb Holmes, a senior at Dirigo High School, was one of the three nominees for Student of the Year. He told the crowd that he was a hands-on person and that Region 9 brought out the best in him.

“Without Region 9, I would have no skills,” he said.

Having completed the computer skills programs, he plans to take a year off before studying culinary arts.

Taylor Savage, the third nominee, plans to enter college to become a registered nurse. She was in the certified nursing assistant program at Region 9.

The instructors for each of the school’s 11 vocational programs met with their students in separate rooms to present certificates and scholarships.

Robbie Babb, a Dirigo High School senior who completed the building trades program, plans to enter Central Maine Community College in the fall to continue learning construction skills. After that he plans to transfer to a four-year college to earn a degree in construction management.

Joey Pelote, a senior at Dirigo High School, was inducted into the National Technology Honor Society and is the only man in the early childhood program.

“I love working with little kids,” he said. “We need more men in the classroom with little children, as father figures.”

Pelote plans to attend the University of Maine at Farmington in the fall for elementary education.

Also honored were early childhood instructor Terri Provencher, who recently completed her bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in special education, and metal trades instructor Pete Barlow, who recently was named the Career Technical Education Teacher of the Year.

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