‘A different kind of camp experience’: Tech Connect program introduces middle schoolers to trades

  • Veterinary science instructor Regina Parsons with Esme Moran and Caramel at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls on Monday as part of the Tech Connect summer program for middle school-aged children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Cody Yetter handles Lulu and student helper Kylie Boudreau leads Branden at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls on Monday as part of the Tech Connect summer program for middle school-aged children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Cosmetology instructor Electra Manley helps Maddie Sabelawski, Kenzie Alicea and Max Luippold with makeup at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls on Monday as part of the Tech Connect summer program for middle school-aged children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Amelia Hescock works on Lilyana Jette’s hair in the Cosmology Department at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls on Monday as part of the Tech Connect summer program for middle school-aged children. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/20/2022 5:24:55 PM
Modified: 7/20/2022 5:24:31 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Franklin County Technical School is celebrating a “successful year” hosting its two-week Tech Connect summer program, which introduces middle school-aged children to a variety of both trade and recreational skills.

“It’s important for students to try a different kind of camp experience,” Superintendent Rick Martin said.

The program, which concludes on Thursday, offered 11 classes to students in sixth to eighth grade. Offerings ranged from career skill-oriented courses, such as cosmetology, computer programming and veterinary science, to athletics such as wrestling and the National Archery in Schools Program.

“It’s a pretty vibrant program getting kids used to hands-on, educational learning” Martin said.

“I think that education isn’t just necessarily sitting at a desk,” said Matt West, Franklin Tech’s director of career and technical education.

West said that while the program has been running annually for about a decade, the novelty of having a younger demographic engage with such skills has not yet worn off.

“They’re a totally different age group than what we’re used to on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s kind of fun seeing the kids come in and basically working in one form or another.”

West said what the program provides children is special because “some of them don’t have these opportunities in their daily life.” This, he continued, has contributed to a high level of investment throughout a group of what Martin estimated to consist of about 100 children each year.

“You can see that they have this work ethic around what the activity is and they’re really engaged in it,” West said.

Such enthusiasm is apparent, evidenced by focused faces from children forging metal and aiming arrows, as well as smiles from participants in the “Adopt a Calf” veterinary science program.

“They’re being creative,” West said, “and they have the ability to utilize their hands or their minds to create something or to achieve a goal that’s something they built.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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