Culinary arts students at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico and their instructor, Catherine Brown, visit Maine Grains, a grain-making business in Skowhegan, Oct. 24. Brown purchased T-shirts for her 36 students with proceeds from selling their foods made for the Rumford Farmers Market, the school’s Community Bake Sales and Lunches and from other events. Submitted photo

MEXICO — The Region 9 School of Applied Technology enrollment stands at 202, Assistant Director Jenn Whittemore  told the board of directors Wednesday night.

That number is about 100 more than last year.

A total of 118 are from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, 52 are from Dirigo High School in Dixfield, 30 are from Telstar High School in Bethel and one is from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Maine Connection Academy, an online school, also has a student the school, Whittemore said.

    In her report on student activities and programs, she said a Halloween open house “went really well,” with over 850 people attending. Some students dressed in costumes and passed out candy. The purpose of the open house was to welcome the community for the holiday and give adults the opportunity “to see what we have to offer here.”

    Children who attend the school’s early childhood education program walked through the school on Halloween to trick or treat, she said.

    Culinary arts students led by instructor Catherine Brown recently visited Maine Grains, a grain-making business in Skowhegan. They also participated in the Pumpkin Festival in Rumford and attended the Maine Hunger Dialogue and Climate Action Summit at the University of Maine at Orono, Whittemore said.

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    Students in the metal trades and heavy equipment operation programs attended Steel Days on Oct. 11 at Capone Iron Corp. in Berlin, New Hampshire, she said.

    Another program, SkillsUSA, a cocurricular and extracurricular program, has returned to active status after years of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Whittemore said. About 35 students are participating in the meetings led by instructor-advisers Jeffrey Rainey and Christopher Barlow.

    Whittemore also noted that the school has recently had on-site visits from Washington County Community College, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army National Guard.

    Culinary arts students at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico surround their instructor, Catherine Brown, front, during a tour of Maine Grains, a grain-making business in Skowhegan, Oct. 24. Brown purchased T-shirts for her 36 students with proceeds from selling their foods made for the Rumford Farmers Market, the school’s Community Bake Sales and Lunches and from other events. Submitted photo

    The career and technical education center also offers courses in certified nursing assistant, computer technology, automotive technology, truck driver training, building construction, fire science, forest/wood harvesting and outdoor skills and leadership, according to its website.

    In other business, Region 9 Director Brenda Gammon said she and members of the school’s Facilities Committee are discussing safety and security measures for building access, such as having electronic swipe entry cards for the building’s access points. They are considering electronic entry cards that would only be activated between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., she said.

    Also, the school has 50 to 60 security cameras around the campus and their outdoor lighting has been upgraded to LED lights.

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    Another building improvement needed, she said, is looking at air quality and ventilation in the small engines workshop and classroom area.

    “We’ve got small engines running; we’ve got to do something to clean up air filtration in that area,” she said.

    The committee is also considering the cost of creating a classroom on one end of the small engines shop, she added.

    In other business, Adult and Community Education Director Dave Murphy said three students have passed the high school equivalency test as of Nov. 1 and others are making “steady progress towards achieving that goal.”

    He advised that the adult education certified nursing assistant program is “officially up and running with a full enrollment.”

    In another development, Murphy said Mike Field, a Region 9 school graduate and owner of Field Plumbing and Heating, has agreed to lead an adult education-sponsored introductory class in plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The date and location of the course will be announced soon, Murphy said.

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