West Shore Career-Tech Program Leaves Major Impact On Grad
I first became aware of the West Shore Career-Technical District from a fellow classmate in my math class who had told me tales of the Project Lead the Way Class with such great detail and interest - I knew I had to be a part of it. At the end of sophomore year, I had to make a decision about my future education in high school. I visited West Shore and saw a construction job site, where kids close to my age were building a garage. It left me feeling wonder and excitement. So, I enrolled in West Shore Construction Trades.
Junior year was the most turbulent year of my high school career. My day began with an hour and a half of AP Chemistry. But this rigorous academic beginning was contrasted by the end of my day, with several periods of construction. I was nervous about coming to Lakewood. I was afraid I would not make friends and that the experience would not live up to expectation. However, It quickly became my favorite part of the day. We were granted the opportunity to build the storage garage by the football field. And we became great friends very quickly. At that point, West Shore meant the better half of my day. It made sitting through class bearable. It also meant fraternity - the ability to work hand-in-hand with my best friends. Bonds that definitely will not perish. When it became clear that I did not wish to pursue an academic career after high school, West Shore taught me to follow my own path.
During that summer, one night while lying in bed contemplating life, I came to a great dilemma. Growing up in Bay Village, I was always told that I would go to college. I was in tough place because my heart was not there. But, I had a flashback to one of the first days in construction, where Mr. Dow said that not everyone had to go to college. So, I decided to enlist in the United States Air Force, as a firefighter. Though such a choice felt very daunting, my experience in the West Shore gave me the confidence to accept who I am and pursue an opportunity that will shape the rest of my life.
As senior year began, I decided to focus on enjoying my time in school. Everyone always says high school is the best years of your life and if you blink you'll miss it. Senior year has been the most enjoyable year of high school. As a class, we have built 14 structures, which at times is hard to believe. But, I built them with my best friends - my brothers. Teachers always ask us to work in groups. In the West Shore, we work in groups where everyone ACTUALLY contributes. Imagine that! And because I have had the privilege to be in the presence of an outstanding group of classmates and teachers, I am the student that I am.
Mr. Martin and Mr. Bluhm, are the best teaching aides anyone could ask for. They helped us solve problems, and more importantly, avoid the wrath of Mr. Dow when we made the same mistake, for the third time.
Mr. Dow, with his considerable knowledge of construction, was able to teach us without missing a beat. Explaining in different ways so that everyone was able to understand and achieve. West Shore means a teaching staff that is not only dedicated to making sure that everyone learns, but, leaving an experience that is memorable, delightful and inspirational.
It also means an administrative staff that only wants to see you succeed. They understand what it means to empower a student to be confident and to put them on the right path to achieve.
What does West Shore ultimately mean to me? It’s an experience where individualism and education combine to help us discover who we really are. It’s an experience which is commonly disregarded in federal mandates of the stereotypical academic education. It’s an experience where you meet great people. So as we celebrate our accomplishments today, it is important to remember, that it is not just the skills we have learned, but the relationships we have built that will impact us for the rest of our lives.
Max Hamilton is a recent West Shore Career-Technical District and Bay Village High School graduate.This article was Max's speech given on Career Passport Day for West Shore graduates.
Max Hamilton is a recent West Shore Career-Technical District and Bay Village High School graduate. This article was Max's speech given on Career Passport Day for West Shore graduates.