Without Attleboro High School’s Career and Technical Education program, I may have never found my calling as a graphic designer. After just a semester in the AHS CTE department’s exploratory program, I chose to study graphic design because it paired my problem-solving mindset with creativity. I support the new AHS because I believe it will enhance the prospects of future students finding their passion in life.
As a CTE student, I learned the basic principles of art and design, Adobe computer applications, and produced real design work for the school and the community in addition to my honors and AP academics. My student portfolio gave me a leg up when it came to applying to college and local scholarships. My success is also thanks to my design teachers-turned-mentors (Mr. Stephen Copel and Ms. Lindsay Nygaard) for encouraging me to follow my dreams, even when their lab space lacked necessary equipment or were technologically inadequate.
After AHS I received my BFA in Graphic Design from UMASS Dartmouth and studied abroad in Darmstadt, Germany. I did all this with the assistance of a New England Graphic Arts scholarship that I never would have obtained had it not been for the AHS CTE program. Today, I am a graphic designer at Hasbro in the gaming department for brands such as Marvel and Netflix and a freelance designer for non-profit organizations who give back to the community.
My success has taken hard work, but is ultimately attributable to the simple fact I found something I love to do early in my high school education. The new AHS will expand the CTE offerings, in a cost-effective manner, yielding a plethora of opportunities for our community’s youth. Students will have more choices to explore their interests and gain valuable work-based skills through internships, job shadows, and co-operative education. There’s no doubt, my experience as a CTE student improved my college and career readiness—so I can only hope the future students of AHS are granted the same opportunity.
A new school, intentionally designed to evolve with the changing needs of students, will dramatically improve the learning environment. That is a proposition worth investing in.