MTC visits during ELT

Sarah Earle, News Editor

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With the intention of sparking interests in students to explore their career paths, Massanutten Technical Center visited during the ELT block by presenting slideshows, a glimpse of each strand offered and even fliers to visit. The Assistant Director Chris Dalton spoke to sophomores about the benefits of MTC.

“Doing [MTC] in high school not only gets you the experience, but it’s also at a very large fraction of the cost. If you were to come back as an adult student, that course as an adult would cost somewhere around $1500,” Dalton said. “As a student, you’re looking around maybe $30 because we have the backing of the school divisions to help fund that. Students are getting the same education as the adult students, but for much less.”

Dalton describes how students receive more experience and credit through MTC.

“We offer the ability to have certifications for the job market after [students] graduate. So upon successful completion among seventeen programs…students have the ability to go into the workforce right after high school, should they chose not to go to college. We offer dual enrollment with many of our programs that [give students] the ability to earn college credits while taking classes, so they can transfer to Virginia Tech or James Madison or other schools that would transfer those credits for the courses,” Dalton said. “The students that only study at MTC are usually adults that have graduated and have already come back for more education. We have an adult side to the program, where after graduation, they can come back and continue or get the things that they may have missed during high school.”

In addition to visiting during ELT, Dalton and his staff promote MTC through media and introductory programs.

“For the Harrisonburg High School newspaper, we have an ad in all nine issues. We have our website, Twitter and Facebook pages, we reach out to high schools and come in. We’re offering visits in November, so the students can come out,” Dalton said. “We have MTC Academy which offers middle school students the opportunity to come out in sixth, seventh and eighth grade to get a taste for what we do so that when they come to the high school, they can have it in their mind. I’ve talked to numerous students at visitations that say their brother does this or has gone through this.”

School counselor Julie Riley encourages students to look into MTC

“I would hope that all students will think about the different pathways and how the workforce and the future is going to look different from the workforce that it had been in the past. Education and certification is going to be what helps students feel like they’re going lead a successful life. It’s not picking one over another. There’s so many of our programs that are beneficial if you are planning to go onto a four year college. Some of these programs can help.”

Sophomore Henry North-Sandel attended the MTC visitation, which helped him gather more information for his interest in firefighting.

“I was thinking about a lot of things [during the presentation]…what I want to do, what other people want to do, what it takes to become one of those people [who does MTC] and being in a class [at MTC],” North-Sandel said. “I’m interested in taking the fire and rescue course. I want to become a firefighter. I think, for me, the most important thing I want to do is help people, and I enjoy helping people.”

North-Sandel helps out at the Harrisonburg fire department from time to time, but is excited to be able to do what he loves during school hours.

“The hazardous material, part of the hazmat session, really interested me [in MTC’s presentation]. It’s one of the more challenging [parts of firefighting], but looks definitely fun,” North-Sandel said. “I visited MTC last month…saw the classrooms, participated in a couple activities and did some document work.”

North-Sandel is planning on attending MTC for both junior and senior year.

“I hope [MTC] will take me to the firefighter department in Northern Virginia. My goal is to be lieutenant or a company officer in a couple years. I hope that I will pass all the classes and get all of my certifications so I can become a firefighter right away. I’m looking forward to making new friends, helping people, and learning life skills as well,” North-Sandel said. “I think [MTC] is going to help me with life skills, as well as general firefighting skills, so I know how to do it. As MTC goes, the firefighter course is really hand on.”

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