Over the course of four weeks this summer, more than 100 local students took part in the Skilled Trades, Agriculture, Tourism and Technology Program (STATT Camp) at Worcester Technical High School.
While summer is thought of as quiet times in most schools, Worcester Tech hosted two camp sessions this summer for total of four weeks. Each session features various pathways and students have the chance to pursue what matches their interest. Opportunities include laser cutting, culinary arts, 3D printing, carpentry, digital media, forensic science, welding, robotics and agriculture. While agriculture students talked about seed identification and goat handling, teenagers in robotics learned to fly drones and coding provided students with ability to program movements in objects. In carpentry, campers were building while forensic science students took fingerprints and talked about blood spatter. In culinary arts, dishes were prepared for taking home, and specific skills were taught in the kitchen by experienced leaders.
This program is an example of what can happen when the county and school officials work together in a spirit of partnership. The program serves as a stark contrast to recent months when budget decisions have led to animosity and division between county and school officials. The program provides an opportunity to look beyond the politics and realize the difference a respectful partnership can achieve when the greater good is sought.
The program is broken into two, two-week camps and is funded by the Worcester County Commissioners and the Rural Maryland Council. Teachers on hand providing instruction are employed through Worcester County Public Schools with a majority working at the tech school in the various fields of focus.
There are numerous positives to this unique opportunity provided to local students, but one we observed is beyond the obvious learning and mastering of new skills. The program also serves as an introduction for many to the wonders of the tech school, which is a true gem for our county. The school’s mission is to offer high school students high-quality career education and training programs in the fields of health care, hospitality, construction, manufacturing, engineering, agriculture, culinary, cosmetology and more.
For many students, the summer camp sessions provided a first introduction to the tech school. For many learners who might not see college as the best career choice, the school provides an alternative and productive pathway to an immediate work career. Funds used on the STATT Camp are well allocated in many ways, especially if the instruction clears the way for students who need to chart a unique course. The tech school provides these alternative options, and it’s a valuable community resource. Many families in this county already know the value of the school, but for others unaware the summer camp program educates and informs of different paths available.