Is A Vocational School The Right Choice For You?

By Kyle Bagenstose and Theresa Katalinas
January 19, 2012
Hatboro-Horsham Patch

Image credit: GOCOLLEGE

Senior Gabriel Wasserman hopes to vouch for ‘tech’ schools for his senior project

Gabriel Wasserman is betting tech school naysayers don’t know how to re-solder a pipe or replace an electrical panel.

And while Wasserman may not be able to change their ability to learn trades, he is hoping to at least change their minds about the career path he is pursuing.

An Upper Dublin senior and Eastern Center for Arts and Technology Landscape Contracting student, Wasserman, for his senior project, is organizing an assembly targeted at ninth and 10th-grade students, with the goal of helping to break the stereotypes about career and technical high schools such as Eastern. In his assembly, to be held in April, he hopes to shed some light on some misconceptions regarding career and technical education.

His presentation will be based on the following questions:

1) Why is there a negative stigma associated with career and technical high schools when, in fact, these are the graduates filling the in-demand jobs in the U.S.?
2) Why do many people think that career and technical high schools are a place for students who cannot complete normal high school courses, when in fact the majority of students attend post-secondary education?
3) Why don’t more high school students attend career and technical high schools?

That’s a question on the minds of Hatboro-Horsham School District officials as well. During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Curtis Griffin said the district has seen a “declining enrollment” for students attending Eastern. Bob Reichert, director of business affairs, said the district has the full-time equivalent of 66 students enrolled in Eastern programs now as compared to 89.34 last school year.

For the first time since 1991, Hatboro-Horsham realized a 1.7 percent decrease in its cost share with Eastern based on fewer students attending, Griffin said. He said video clips and more information about Eastern is being shared with the student body.

“It offers an outstanding program,” Griffin said.

Wasserman seems to agree.

“When someone, oftentimes an adult, asks me why someone like myself attends a ‘tech’ school, I say I go because I am doing something that I love,” said Wasserman in his project description. “I then ask that same person if they know how to re-solder a pipe, replace an electrical panel, or build a house without it falling over.”

Along with nearly 70 percent of Eastern program completers, Wasserman plans to attend college next year at Penn College of Technology to major in the heavy equipment technician program. After college, Wasserman hopes to start his own landscape contracting business.

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