LACONIA — This month thousands of New Hampshire students will walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. In the Lakes Region, this includes approximately 150 graduating seniors who attended two years at the J. Oliva Huot Career and Technical Center. While the Huot does not technically hand out diplomas, the center does take great pride in the graduation plans of their seniors. This year, 74 Huot students will go onto post-secondary education, 43 of whom will be working and attending school at the same time. All together, the Huot class of 2015 earned 221 college credits through the Running Start program at Lakes Region Community College, saving their families $41,000 in tuition. This year's Huot graduates also included thirty-eight students secured full- time employment.
When asked how the Huot helped them to become college-and-career ready, students replied with a variety of answers. "The Huot helps you achieve so much more than you would ever imagine," says Bridgette Robichaud of Franklin, an Allied Health student. Bridgette has enrolled in the Dental Assistant Program at New Hampshire Technical Institute.
"My teachers taught me new skills and I reached many great accomplishments. More importantly, the class taught me how to cope with failure" explains Liam Gove, who entered the Automotive program from Winnisquam Regional High School. Liam has secured a position as a boat technician with Winnisquam Marina. These sentiments were echoed by, Joe Judkins, another Winnisquam student attending the Building Construction program. "The Building Class taught me many professional and personal skills; this built my self-confidence and ability to decide to join the military." Joe is one of 10 Huot seniors who has opted to pursue a career in the armed services.
Over the past few years the Huot Center has significantly increased the number of college credits students can earn while still in high school. One example of this credit-earning potential is Mikayla Bordeau from the Huot's Careers in Education program who has managed to earn 14 college credits while in high school including 11 from her class at the career center. Mikayla has secured a position with Lakes Region Child Care Services, Inc. and has enrolled in the Elementary Education program at Plymouth State University.
While the majority of Huot students transition directly into a related field the workplace readiness skills can be transferred into a number of different career paths. Dacey Lecuyer, a Culinary Arts student, is taking the teamwork and customer service skills she learned through culinary arts in a different direction. "The program has taught me self-discipline and gave me confidence to be prepared for cosmetology school." Dacey has enrolled at Empire Beauty School in Laconia.
For five years running the Huot Center has achieved a 100% pass-rate on the state exam for Licensed Nurse Assistants. One of this year's candidates, Nicole Rosas of Belmont, could not be more pleased with her experience at the Huot Center and the opportunities it has provided for her future. "The program and my required 60 plus clinical hours helped me decide what I wanted to do after graduation. My teachers gave me great support and were always encouraging." Nicole is enrolled in Arizona State University's Nursing Program, and plans on working as a Licensed Nursing Assistant while attending school. Another student heading off to college this fall will be Brenton Clarke from the Huot's Pre-Engineering program. "The Huot helped me create a solid foundation for a career in design, I was given the ability to use the latest version of industry standard CAD software, allowing me to prepare for college level work as well as my chosen career in design." Brenton is attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in Industrial Design.
Closer to home, Multi-Media student Carly DeNauw plans on starting her post-secondary studies at Lakes Region Community College this Fall. "The program taught me project management and the importance of quality of work" says DeNauw. Also staying in the Lakes Region is Isaac Muniz from the Plumbing and Heating program. "This program gave me knowledge, understanding and opportunity, through hands-on learning experience, to become an apprentice. Learning was a lot of fun and a great way to gain industry required skills." Isaac has secured a full-time plumbing apprenticeship with Joe Boxer Plumbing and Heating, LLC. An upturn in residential construction has lead to 90% of graduating Plumbing and Heating students securing full-time employment before graduation. This year also saw the addition and expansion of programs at the Huot Center. Inter-lakes Senior, Emilie Haight, spoke highly of her experience in the first ever Hospitality class at the Huot Center. In addition to classroom time, students spent one-day a week at the Marriot Townplace Suites in Gilford. "The program and the internship helped me learn so much about the industry. It was a great experience." Emilie is attending Johnson and Wales University for Event Planning. LHS student Aaron Smith also had good things to say about the expanded Law Enforcement program. "The class validates what you want to do and gives you a real insight into what you can expect from the career you want or don't want!" Aaron's lofty future goals include enlisting in the military, obtaining his criminal justice degree and eventually hoping to work at the Laconia Police Department.
Even as teachers wish their departing seniors luck in their future endeavors work is starting for next year's incoming class. The Huot anticipates an overall enrollment of around 460-470 students next fall making it one of the larger centers in the state.
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