The following are some of the programs and competitions in which students at the Washington County Technical High School participate:
Transition Skills Program
The Transition Skills Program is in its fourth year at Tech High. The two-year program is open to county Life Skill students between the ages of 17 and 21.
Students are chosen from all the county Life Skill programs, including the Job Development Program at Marshall Street, Tech High's Transition Skills teacher Cindy Logsdon wrote in an email.
This school year, there were six students in the Monday/Wednesday program and six in the Tuesday/Thursday program.
The program gives certificate-track students skill-building opportunities in seven technical areas to increase their chances of employment after they leave the school system, Logsdon said.
Transition Skills students in Culinary Arts are in charge of preparing the a la carte menu each day. That includes grilling and wrapping burgers, cooking french fries, stocking milk, making punch and tea and preparing the condiments.
Student Jonathan Aviles Rojas recently started a job preparing fries and chicken nuggets for the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium, Logsdon said.
Logsdon's students in Early Childhood Professions assist in classroom management and help preschoolers in their day-to-day routines, as well as plan and deliver lessons with the preschoolers.
Students in Graphic Communications use the Adobe Illustrator program to create a variety of projects, including a travel poster, business card, soda bottle label, calendar and magazine cover.
Transition Skills students in Carpentry use basic tools to create projects including shelves, jewelry racks and tool boxes, and learn to use jigsaws, drill presses, disc sanders and circular saws to complete their projects.
Horticulture students assist in the Greenhouse by planting seeds, small flowers and handling day-to-day tasks.
Transition Skills students also have the opportunity to participate in Collision Repair, Health Occupations and Cosmetology.
Project Lead the Way
Tech High is one of three schools in the nation to have exemplar and model technology programs in both Biomedical Science and Pre-Engineering fields, according to the national Project Lead The Way office.
The school was recognized by Project Lead the Way, a science, technology, engineering and math program, as one of 10 "Model School" programs in the nation.
Tech High was honored for its innovative approach to engaging students in STEM education, according to a news release from Dec. 1, 2010.
The school was selected from more than 4,000 PLTW schools across the country and recognized at the National Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., in October 2010.
"PLTW's rigorous hands-on, project-based curriculum helps students develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills required for the jobs of the 21st century. The 2009-10 Model Schools offer outstanding examples of how schools of all sizes and in all parts of the country are preparing middle school and high school students for college and career success in these important fields," the news release said.
SkillsUSA is an organization that serves high school and college students who are preparing for careers in skilled technical and service occupations.
Washington County Technical High School students compete in local and regional events, with some earning the opportunity to compete in the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo., in June.
Last year, Ashley Willingham won first place in the preschool teaching competition — the second time in three years that a Tech High student has won gold at the national competition.
Other students earned bronze medals and top 10 awards, according to a Washington County Public Schools news release.
More recently, 40 Tech High students participated in the SkillsUSA Western Region Competition at Frederick Career Technology Center on Feb. 5.
Ten students finished in the top three in their events and advanced to the state competition in March. Fifteen students placed fourth or fifth in the regional competition.
Tech High had three state winners in March. Two of those students will advance to the National SkillsUSA Competition in late June. The other student will be in the military by then so cannot attend, Stouffer said.
There were seven second-place and seven third-place winners from Tech High, but they do not advance to the national competition.
A team of student inventors from Tech High was one of 15 from high schools nationwide to be selected to receive a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant in the 2009-10 school year.
The students designed and created a color-changing roof to reduce energy costs by reflecting the sun's heat in the summer to keep the attic cooler and collecting heat in the winter to heat the living space.
The team traveled to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., to exhibit and demonstrate their invention at the InvenTeam Showcase during EurekaFest in June 2010 and also attend workshops.
"I personally felt happy to be involved in a project like this," said Kady Dominick, a pre-engineering senior from Smithsburg, who was part of the Tech High team that went to MIT.
Kady, who said she knew she wanted to be an engineer in sixth grade because she liked to build things, will attend Shepherd University in the fall to study environmental engineering and hopes to engineer new fuels.
"I do now feel well prepared for college. I love the idea of having a car run on water, so we're not so dependent on oil and electricity," Kady said.
— Janet Heim