The Center for Technology, Essex wasn’t just a school to me, but a home as well. Before
enrolling I struggled with confidence and was blind to my own potential. From the first day of
class I felt welcomed into the CTE community, which allowed me to excel in my work and enjoy
the projects assigned in all of my courses. My instructor, Jim Dirmaier who teaches Engineering
& Architectural Design, assisted me in realizing my capabilities and honing skills beneficial to
me for architectural studies and as an overall worker.
After my first year I noticed how much I improved on my ability to do CAD work and how
developed my work ethic had become. The work and challenge given by the Engineering &
Architectural Design program as well as my progress since the start of the year inspired me to
pursue further education in the architecture field. During Recognition Night where students were
to be recognized for their achievements and completing their courses I approached my
grandfather, who owns a construction business, to inquire about an internship, something I would
not have done without having attended CTE.
Similar to my first year at CTE, the architectural side of the Engineering and Architectural
Design Program challenged motivated me to strive for greatness. Because of the environment
and skills taught, I decided to enroll in college to continue my education in the field of
architecture. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be accepted into my dream
college: Norwich University. Now, I’ve been accepted into Norwich’s Honors Program and I’m
wrapping up a work study that I began during the start of the year. Without the support and help
from the CTE community and staff I would not have furthered my academic studies or be where
I am today. I am forever grateful to the wonderful people who have encouraged and supported
me and the amazing community and environment unique to CTE.
Hi, I'm Christina Bhandari and I recently graduated from Midway University’s nursing program in May, 2020. I have been working as an RN since July, 2020 as a bedside nurse.
For the past 4+ years, I thought a lot about how CTE impacted my career. Everything that has helped me, from medical terminology lessons, college credit classes, community service days, learning about professional codes and ethics, and SkillsUSA, etc. Whenever I was complimented on my work ethic, I became more thankful toward CTE.
As soon as I started college, I missed being with my classmates and my teacher the most. The experience of being with a small group of people for a whole year, every day for 6 hours is something special. Joining the Health Informatics class allowed me to get a glimpse of what my potential career could look like. I’m forever grateful for the experience and for my CTE family.
What Made My Time at CTE Worthwhile?
During my time with CTE, I learned many valuable tools and had access to many valuable resources that empowered me to build a diverse palette of skills for both the creative space and the tech space. I was fortunate enough to be able to play around with a multitude of programs and software ranging from 3D Studio Max giving me the opportunity to build 3D models and renderings as well as animation. I got to learn Adobe software such as Photoshop where I could experiment with image manipulation and create digital illustrations.
These two years at CTE were transformational and influential because:
- I grew academically; I was provided with an alternative to learning -- a hands-on
approach and a more individualized classroom setting that puts the student first in a school that understands the different types of learners that are out there.
- I grew socially; as someone on the autism spectrum I find the world of communication
and socializing a little confusing but spending two years with a great group of students and
teachers allowed me to discover and understand the world around me a lot better.
- and most importantly, I grew as an individual ready and prepared for the road ahead
into a future in which I am able to put the tools, resources and empowerment I have acquired to good use.
Marley Ostrout attended CTE's Dental Assisting program during the 2019-2020 school year from Spaulding High School in Barre. After graduating this past June, she worked as a dental assistant at Vermont Dental Care in Barre, VT. She and her family are moving to South Carolina soon where she will return to the dental assisting field. Check out what Marley has to say about CTE and the program!
"Labor market projections indicate a growing gap in the supply of qualified employees for middle skills jobs—those that require training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. Shortfalls are expected to be particularly acute in fields critical to our nation’s economic competitiveness, such as computer technology, nursing, and advanced manufacturing."Labor MarketSo let's hear some words from a CTE Computer Systems Alumni: Emily Jenkins
I was so intrigued by a school that allowed you to pursue your Career paths while in High school. I thought to myself why was I not offered or told about this amazing place? It seemed to me that CTE was not offered or pushed as much to the Mainstream students like myself. It felt almost like an “alternative school,” but I soon found out it was much more than that.
I was worried about going into my Junior year without all the friends I’ve had since Second Grade. I was also worried about being the ONLY girl in my class, but as the year progressed I had become friends with almost everyone in my program!CST allowed me to explore the many different sides of a Computer Career and ultimately helped me narrow down my options of what I enjoyed doing.I never dreamed of going to College or getting a Career. I didn’t think it was something I’d ever have the opportunity to do. Attending CST my Junior year of high school not only set me up for a Career Path in Computer Science, but I also met so many wonderful people who helped me find a program called VAST that allowed me to be a Freshman in College while I completed my Senior year of high school.After leaving CTE I received my Associates Degree in Computer Science and I now work for Essex Westford School District as a Computer Technician where I have worked for almost 2 years. My home base is at Essex High School/CTE. Working for EWSD I feel like I am now able to give back to the wonderful CTE community that helped me get to where I am today.CTE is such a diverse and welcoming school. I think any student who attends CTE would agree that you leave feeling like family.
Alumni Profile: Corey Clark
Five years ago my life was changed forever. School was always rough for me. Sitting in a classroom. Being taught multiple topics and theories a certain way and struggling to find the relevance in it all. I was struggling physically, mentally, and academically. I dreaded showing up each day knowing that I would struggle throughout each and every class. For me to succeed, something had to change.
I applied into the Pre-tech program at CTE for my sophomore year of high school. However, I was very nervous. If they had to look at my report card to see if I was eligible, I'd be out for sure. Little did I know, CTE wanted students like me. They wanted students who struggled to find relevance to class content in a traditional classroom setting, and they wanted to set them up for success physically, mentally, and academically. I got accepted into the program the beginning of that year. Instantly I had improved all around. The different teaching style, classroom setting, and attention to each student's different abilities set all students up for success in school. After completing my sophomore year, it was a night and day comparison to my past years of school. Years prior, I was barely passing classes and dreaded showing up. At the end of this year, I was a high honor student and looked forward to each school day.
My junior year, I was accepted into the Natural Resources: Mechanical program. In this program, I was introduced to a completely different learning environment. The learning spaces consisted of a small classroom, a welding and mechanical shop, and a large outdoor heavy equipment operation area. It was awesome to have the instructors come up with education material that directly related to our different classroom spaces. Pretty quickly, all the students were learning about business and financial management within our curriculum, using math and science skills in the welding shop building different projects, learning technical skills by working on small engines and heavy equipment in the shop, and learning operational skills out in the heavy equipment area. In addition to that, students also got certifications such as OSHA 10, tractor safety, and first aid & CPR. For events and open houses during that school year, my instructors had me be the program tour guide. If upcoming students were interested in the program, they were given the opportunity to visit with me and I would showcase all the different aspects that the program covered. During my junior year, I was still a high honors student. I also had the honor of being chosen by the program instructors as the Outstanding Student of the Natural Resources: Mechanical program.
I attended the Natural Resources: Forestry program for my senior year. This program challenged students to work together in executing and implementing a forest management program on an existing woodlot and a functioning greenhouse and hydroponics lab. Students had to work together to make sure everyday jobs were taken care of inside the greenhouse and that the forestry equipment was ready for use. Gaining certifications for The Game of Logging 1 and 2, our team learned safe tree-felling and lumber processing practices. The instructors in this program played the primary role as our “employers.” Students would learn how to build strong resumes and cover letters. The students would then apply for jobs within the program, such as a tree-feller, a dozer operator, and landing manager. The students would undergo a live interview process with the resumes and cover letters they made. The grade they got on the project determined which job position they were placed. Again, I was a high honors student. And again, I was chosen as the Natural Resources: Forestry Outstanding Student.
Not only does CTE provide an effective on-site learning environment, they also work to put students out on actual job sites within their interests. The staff within the Co-op Coordination office work with students who are exceeding the standard within their programs. Their main goal is to take students who are unsure about what they want to do for work and place them in different workplaces within the local community to find the students' niche. When I went into the Co-op office and talked with a coordinator, she asked me a simple question. "Corey, what is something you'd like to try?" I thought for a minute and answered with: "How about operating a Snowcat?" She then replied to me, "Let me see what I can do."
Soon after, I had an interview with the manager of Cochrans Ski Area in Richmond for a Snowcat Operator and Snowmaker position. After getting the position, I was able to work at Cochrans during the school week as well as get school credit for the time that I was there. Not only that, I would get paid to be there as well. How can you beat that? This would be my new learning environment for years to come. Thanks to the Co-op Coordination team, I had found my dream job.
Catching up with me today, you'll find me working at Smugglers Notch Ski Resort as one of their primary Snowcat operators in the winter, and working at A. Nadeau and Co. as a bucket loader operator. I love both of my positions and both companies I work for. I wake up in the morning (or night!) looking forward to going to work. My attendance at the Tech Center through the last three years of highschool was the best time of my life and set me up for a successful career out of high school. All of the skills I learned in those three years prepared me to be a successful high school graduate. I felt well equipped to jump right into the workforce and felt comfortable with what the world held in store for me.
I would recommend the Tech Center to anyone that struggles in the typical classroom setting and/or who is unsure about what they want to do in their life. CTE recognizes every student is an individual and will work endlessly to make sure the student excels. With this philosophy, I was able to thrive and excel physically, mentally, and academically. That is exactly how school should be.
See what my parents have to say about the Tech Center:
"Parents want to see their kids grow, excel, and succeed. Many kids find themselves struggling in the traditional learning environment. This is where we found Corey until he started at the Tech program. We immediately saw a change in Corey. His grades took a turn for the better and actually liked school. It didn't stop there. The Tech program helped him identify his interests and created opportunities for him in the job market. He graduated with a full time job that he loves and we continue to see him grow, excel, and succeed as a fine young man. We are grateful for the Tech program helping to bring out his potential." ~Tim and Cathy Clark.
Alumni Profiles: Jessica Bortz and Tyler BortzMy years at CTE were some of my favorite years of my schooling journey. I was given so many opportunities and was consistently pushed to be the best version of myself. The teachers are there to guide you in the career path that you want to achieve. CTE prepared me for being a successful college student. The experience that CTE allowed me to have, benefited me immensely. I took advantage of the opportunity to take as many college classes as I could. I graduated high school with 18 college credits that would be transferred over to my college. Due to having these credits I was recognized as a freshman to be inducted into the National Leadership and Success Society.My message to other students would be that CTE can give you the self confidence to try new experiences and let yourself grow into the successful person you want to be. I’m currently a Junior at Northern Vermont University studying to become an Elementary School teacher or a Special Education teacher. Thank you CTE I couldn't have done it without you! Read More from Jessica
Parent View: Lisa and Seth Bortz
There is no perfect education model but CTE allows for flexibility for students to succeed. Both of our kids went to CTE from sophomore thru senior year and they took very different career paths.Our son Tyler went into pre-tech, then went on to automotive, and his senior year he was in Natural Resources Mechanical. During his senior year he met with the career counselor and came up with some interests. Tyler had a full time job when he graduated at the Town of Essex Water Department. CTE helped him be prepared for the interview and prepare a resume. He has been there for 5 years and is climbing the ladder in the ranks.Jessica on the other hand went into pre-tech not really knowing what she wanted to do. Our quiet reserved daughter started embracing the CTE experience. She was told about a college class that she could take for free through CTE. She took it and that was just the start, as she took advantage of all she could. She ended up graduating with 18 college credits (that were transferable to NVU). What parent does not convert this into a cash value?CTE helped both of our kids, two totally different learning styles, with two totally different career paths, achieve success. We can’t say enough good things about this school, its teachers, and support staff.
Alumni-Jesse Martin Golden Wrench Award
Golden Wrench AwardCongrats to former CTE student Jesse Martin who was recently honored with the 2020 Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts Golden Wrench Award! After finishing the CTE Auto I program in 2019, Jesse went on to do a Co-Op at Goss Jeep in South Burlington for his senior year through the CTE Auto II program.