LancasterOnline reporter Debbie Wygent has an informative article about Octorara High School’s innovative cooperative career and technical program in the paper’s online edition.
The program, run by high school guidance councilor David Rutledge, places high school students in volunteer and paid positions with local businesses, fire and police departments and hospitals for three or four hours each weekday morning. The students return to school for lunch and a full load of classes at 10:30 AM.
The program gives students real-life experience and on the job training they would not have gotten in the classroom. According to High School Principal Dr. Scott Rohrer, the programs has been, “nothing but popular.”
The money quote from Rohrer:
“These opportunities just catch students. . . . I’ve been amazed to see students who were in trouble four years ago, but once they realized what they wanted to do when they get out of high school, a light clicks on and they begin to succeed.”
Here are the lead paragraphs from Wygent’s story:
At 5:45 a.m. Monday through Friday, as most Octorara High School students are hitting the snooze button, seniors James DiBattista, Caleb Howe and Shane Shuler are on the job at Dutchland Inc. in Gap learning to build concrete structures.
The students, who are in the school’s cooperative career and technical program, are not just classroom students. They are also paid Dutchland, Inc. employees gaining direct training in job skills and manufacturing.
The young men working outdoors were taking the foul winter weather in stride during a recent day at Dutchland.
“It’s a good experience,” said Shane Shuler of Parkesburg, interviewed while cutting rebar in 10-degree weather. “I’m learning a trade and getting a real-life job experience.”
“It’s definitely a lot better than just sitting in class,” Howe said.
The entire LancasterOnline article is here.
(Above image, courtesy of LancasterOnline, Dutchland Inc. foreman Donny Liney, left, helps Octorara student Caleb Howe measure and cut rebar.)