By Emmy Liederman
With nine periods a day and many graduation requirements, it can be difficult for a high school student to focus on one field of interest. But Union County Vocational-Technical School is available for those who wish to pursue a single subject that appeals to them early in their school career.
The classes at the Vocational-Technical School, commonly known as VoTech, take a hands-on approach to learning that mirrors real-world work. Program offerings range from Culinary Arts to cosmetology.
“VoTech has given me the opportunity to start a career right out of high school in my selected trade, electrical technology,” said senior Matt Stravach.
VoTech students either participate in the morning session, in which they are bused back to WHS for fifth through ninth periods, or the afternoon session, in which they leave for VoTech after fifth period. This only leaves time for them to take standard classes at WHS, such as English and math.
Senior Lizzie Villane joined VoTech’s cosmetology program in the fall of her junior year. “In the cosmetology program, you can get your license after completing 1,000 hours and passing the state board test,” she said. “After I graduate, I will be able to get my license and start my career right away thanks to the guidance from my teachers and peers.”
Senior Josh Schwartz was intrigued by VoTech’s shared-time program in electrical technology because he wanted to learn practical skills that would allow him to be self-sufficient. “I am learning skills about things like electricity, the skeleton of a house and plumbing to enhance my future,” he said. “Instead of having to hire an electrician, I can fix the problems myself.”
The students who attend or hope to attend VoTech agree that there are many misconceptions about the program. Senior Isabel Otis, who enrolled in the shared-time program in digital multimedia design this year, noted: “A lot of people label kids who go to VoTech as lazy and assume they want to slack off academically. I think that is ridiculous because kids go to VoTech because they have an idea of the career path they want to pursue, and that is truly a great thing.”