The Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School (UCCRTS), where Marion students attend, recently broke ground on a 10,000 square foot building, known as the Nursing and Allied Health Education Center.
“The demand for skilled workers in the medical field is growing and we want to provide even more opportunity for our students,” said Kevin Farr, Superintendent of the school.
Much of the construction is being done by students and staff. “If all goes well with the weather, we would like to see occupancy in the fall of 2013,” said Mr. Farr.
Years ago, the Tri-Town grappled with how and where to educate high school students in a vocational technical setting.
Rochester and Mattapoisett joined a pact with Acushnet, Carver, Freetown and Lakeville and agreed that their students would attend Old Colony Vocational Technical High School in Rochester. Old Colony currently has 67 students from Rochester and 39 from Mattapoisett.
Marion joined in with Wareham, Falmouth, Bourne and Sandwich and is part of the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School (UCCRTS) in Bourne.
The UCCRTS sits on 70 acres, and has views of both the Bourne Bridge and the Railroad Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. A brochure provided to potential students features a photo of the bridges with the slogan, “Your bridge to the future, your gateway to success.”
Approximately 700 students attend the four-year high school. The breakdown shows only 20 students from Marion, while Wareham has 226, Bourne at 120, Falmouth at 199 and Sandwich at 127. Why so few from Marion?
“Based on the total year round population, I think that this number is a little low based on history. Families have so many high school options today,” said Mr. Farr.
“I believe we do a good job of presenting our curriculum and offerings to the Marion students at Old Rochester Regional Junior High School. It’s difficult to get students to move from a Junior/Senior setting where they feel comfortable… and, our other five towns move from an 8th grade building to the high school, while Marion jumps to the junior high after 6th grade, “ said Mr. Farr.
According to Ernest Yeaw, a Marion resident and a plumbing and heating instructor at the school, Marion students are overlooking the value of a high quality vocational education.
“This isn’t your father’s vo-tech,” said Mr. Yeaw. “We go beyond and include everything from filling out a building permit, writing checks and other life lessons that go along with being a professional in today’s world.”
The offerings at the school include: automotive collision repair, automotive technology, carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts, electrical, engineering technology, environmental technology, health careers, horticulture, information technology, marine technology and plumbing/heating.
According to Mr. Farr, the school received 335 applications from potential students, but could only accept 180. “It’s competitive, and getting more so, with an admissions policy that is based on a 100 point score for grades, behavior, attendance and a personal interview.
“I graduated in 1996,” said Mr. Yeaw, “and it’s amazing the changes that have taken place in the technology area… where the new jobs are being created… vo-tech isn’t for [those] who can’t make it academically…that’s a myth. The ones from Marion who aren’t accepted as freshman here at UCCRTS, have to go to ORR, so it’s just the opposite of what many people think.”
The school has a wind turbine and solar panels that heat water tanks in the waste water treatment area. Horticulture students maintain the extensive grounds. The school also has a restaurant, open to the public from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Reservations are required 24 hours ahead, so students know how much food to prepare. The school also has a hair salon and an auto maintenance facility.
For more information or a tour of the school, which is located at 220 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA, call the school office at 508-759-7711. To learn more about UCCRTS, go to www.uppercapetech.com.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry