MEXICO — Region 9 School of Applied Technology Student of the Year Ashley Hutchinson made her decision to attend the career, technology and education school at the beginning of her senior year at Dirigo High School, but she almost didn’t make the cut-off date to apply, she said.

“I actually should have been here a year sooner; I love it so much here,” Hutchinson said regarding her entry into the school’s Early Childhood Education program.

Hutchinson’s love of children and “tons of past experience with children,” babysitting for cousins and volunteering at Dirigo Elementary School’s Camp Cougar after-school program, were how her passion for working with children and wanting to teach them developed, and that desire was what brought her to Region 9, she said.

Adding to her experience babysitting and work for the after-school program, a trip to Nicaragua for two weeks in 2014 opened Hutchinson’s eyes to future career aspirations. She traveled to Nicaragua with a group from Med-Care Ambulance, who were teaching people there how to use AEDs, defibrillators, and CPR, but she gravitated toward spending time with all the children there, she said.

Hutchinson appreciated that travel experience and what she learned so much that she went back to Nicaragua with her mother, Ronnie Hutchinson, in March. “I was so happy to be able to be there for her to experience the culture,” she said.

“I visited Nicaragua again to find out more about their local primary school and to see how everything was run, so hopefully I can get my degree and spend maybe a few years in the Peace Corps as a teacher or something along those lines. I just want to see more of the world, see other cultures and other children and how they act.”

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Besides her course load at Region 9, Hutchinson takes online college courses and maintains a 3.4 GPA in those courses, while planning to attend the University of Maine at Farmington this fall. Hutchinson is co-president of the National Honor Society at Dirigo High School. “I really value the volunteer work that they do, because volunteering is a big part of my life as well,” she said.

Hutchinson has attended an honors dinner at Thomas College and she will attend the National Technical Honor Society dinner on May 10.

Hutchinson’s role models are her parents, Ronnie and Warren Hutchinson. “My mother taught me to be independent and to not be afraid to travel, and my father has raised me to be responsible and respectful, and he’s also taught me a very strong work ethic.” She also noted that her grandparents, Linda and Jan Hutchinson, “are also part of my motivation to do well.”

Hutchinson lives in Carthage with her parents and her younger sister, Carleen, and her older brother, Jesse.

Ashley Hutchinson of Carthage is Region 9 School of Applied Technology Student of the Year.


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