On Thursday, October 26, 2017, approximately 15 eighth grade students went on a trip to Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. Assabet is the technical high school most Southborough, Westborough, Northborough, and Marlborough eighth graders attend. Assabet offers students opportunities most regular high schools don’t, such as both shops in specialized manual work AND academics.
The students were given a tour of the shops they were interested in seeing, such as culinary arts, cosmetology, health assisting, and automotive technology. The culinary arts students had prepared cookies for the visitors, and the programming web design class showed the students how they use a green screen. The eighth graders also visited the cosmetology salon where students were styling hair. The freshman and sophomores were practicing on mannequins, and the upperclassmen were working on actual students and a teacher. The biotech students were watching a demonstration of what to do when someone is having a heart attack.
One of the teachers said that many people believe that technical schools are for kids who don’t do well in school. However, most kids that go to technical high schools want to get a specialized job and then go to college. Assabet “offers a good community and good academics,“ eighth-grader Jordan Lipman said. When people think of Assabet, they think it’s all tech design and woodwork, but the school actually offers a variety of choices. Mrs. Morgan, a guidance counselor said, “They have seven types of technical programs, art, health/ hospitality, business, construction, communication, engineering, and manufacturing.” Assabet offers a wide variety of choices in shops, such as culinary arts (cooking), machine tool technology, automotive technology, design & visual communications, metal fabrication & joining tech, biotechnology, cosmetology (hair), drafting, painting & design tech, business tech, electricity, plumbing, carpentry, health assisting, programming & web development and HVAC-R.
Students who attend a technical high school will have academic classes one week and then the next week will be shop classes. This alternates throughout the year. Freshman will experience each shop for two hours, and then they pick the six shops they are most interested in learning. They are guaranteed three of their picks.
While for most kids something like this would be a nightmare, for others it’s an amazing school. “Assabet is more for interactive kids,” said one eighth grade student. The school itself is more for kids who are more creative and for those who are interested in jobs that are more hands on. “Assabet allows you to learn academics while also learning a trade that you can use later in life,” Jordan Litman said.
Assabet is definitely an option for students interested in learning a skill/trade, as well as those who are looking for a hands-on career. Either way, Algonquin or Assabet are both excellent schools, and if a student does not like Assabet, he/she can always switch over sophomore year.