NEWARK – “If you build it, they will come,” said Ginger Gilliss, reciting the famous line from “Field of Dreams” to a crowd of 100 stakeholders at Worcester Technical High School’s Sept. 19 Building Dedication.
“They came and exceeded all expectations! This building reflects caring, nurturing individuals who believe,” added Gilliss, a School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) member for Worcester County Public Schools’ technical high school.
The foundational belief for the new Worcester Tech is not far from the one implied in the 1989 movie: Give people opportunities to fulfill their dreams, and the possibilities are endless. Worcester Technical High School Principal Dr. Jane Pruitt explained the difference that the new school is making.
“Now, because we have this state-of-the-art facility, with 20 programs from which to choose, current and future students have an advantage,” Pruitt said, “and that advantage stays with them when they enter college or the workplace.”
Virginia Harris, a Stephen Decatur High School senior who is enrolled in Worcester Tech’s culinary arts program, shared a letter that she wrote to future students about her experiences at Worcester Tech. According to Harris, one of the most powerful lessons came from one of her teachers when he said, “If you believe, it will be, Virginia; it will be.” Harris took that philosophy with her when she earned a national second-place finish in the customer service division at the 2009 SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City this summer.
Ultimately, speakers at the building dedication recognized the role that stakeholders played in turning the dream of a new 139,000-square-foot school – able to accommodate expanded programs and more students – into a reality.
“Today, we celebrate the dedication of a building,” said Pruitt. “However, I submit to you that today we are really celebrating the dedication of people who made this facility, and all that happens within, possible.”
Board of Education President Robert Hulburd thanked stakeholders for their efforts.
“As you walk through the halls of this school and visit the classrooms and programs, know that you played an important role for our kids,” said Hulburd. “Know that you had a long-term commitment to public education, and that short-term obstacles did not deter you. You saw the big picture, and the Board of Education and members of the school system thank you.”
Stakeholders attending the building dedication represented a variety of agencies and occupations. In the audience were government officials including Senator Lowell Stoltzfus and Delegates Norm Conway, Page Elmore and Jim Mathias; County Commissioners; Board of Education members; mayors; and county and community leaders. Parents, students, teachers, administrators, retired superintendents, the 2009 Worcester County Teacher of the Year, and representatives from the Maryland State Department of Education were in attendance as well, as were representatives from the Interagency for School Construction (IAC), the school’s construction firm (SPN, Inc.), and contractors.
Before inviting members of the audience to deposit personalized messages into the new school’s time capsule, Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes expressed his gratitude. “Progress does not happen without great people and a great vision. We are truly blessed,” he said.
After the building dedication ceremony, SkillsUSA students guided attendees on a facility tour.
Prior to the new facility, the Worcester Career and Technology Center was housed in the Board of Education complex, adjacent to the new school. Due to capacity and space limitations, new programs could not be instituted and the number of student participants in certain programs was limited. The new high school opened in November of 2008.