Per­se­ver­ance pays off

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Len­noxville

Last week was School Per­se­ver­ance Week so I headed off to a school where, given its lengthy and in­ten­sive cour­ses, I would eas­ily find some per­se­ver­ing stu­dents: the Len­noxville Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre. I spoke with three of the school’s stu-

dents, Karolynn Csiszer, from Sher­brooke, Bran­don Mackey, from Len­noxville, and Jeremy Si­mon­neau, from Bury, and be­gan by ask­ing them why they en­rolled at the Cen­tre.

“At first I be­gan study­ing Spe­cial Care Coun­sel­ing at Cham­plain, but it wasn’t the pro­gram for me. I had al­ways seen my­self work­ing in an of­fice, so I switched to Sec­re­tar­ial Stud­ies here,” said Karolynn. Bran­don had thought about go­ing back to school sev­eral times dur­ing his six year hia­tus from ‘the books’ af­ter high school. Then when he broke his leg badly in an ac­ci­dent, he ad­mit­ted to hav­ing time to think and get his pri­or­i­ties straight. “It was very last minute for me. I liked to work with me­tal, I was good in math, and I knew there was a de­mand for ma­chin­ists. Two of my rel­a­tives went through the Ma­chin­ing Tech­nics course and got jobs with good wages and good con­di­tions. So I signed up just one day be­fore the course started,” Bran­don ex­plained.

“I had lots of hob­bies with weld­ing but I started work­ing at a wood­shop in Cook­shire af­ter high school, then I got laid off when the com­pany moved. I re­al­ized I didn’t like that kind of shop work any­way, and that I should go into some­thing that I liked,” said Jeremy whose weld­ing hobby in­cluded build­ing de­mo­li­tion cars with his broth­ers.

As pre­vi­ously men­tioned, vo­ca­tional cour­ses are typ­i­cally lengthy and in­ten­sive, last­ing four­teen months with only two weeks off in the sum­mer; they come with their chal­lenges. “Get­ting used to the school rou­tine of get­ting up early ev­ery morn­ing was hard at first,” ad­mit­ted Karolynn. “We get a lot of our home­work done in class so I don’t have as much home­work as I used to have in col­lege,” she added. “I worked night shift for two years so it was hard to wake up early at first. An­other chal­lenge is some­times the younger kids who goof around; that can be dis­tract­ing. Here you have to care about the work be­cause there is a lot to take in,” said Jeremy. Asked if the home­work in the Weld­ing and Fit­ting pro­gram was chal­leng­ing, he an­swered: “We never get asked to do home­work and it’s awe­some!” Bran­don found that his math was a lit­tle rusty af­ter five years and he had to re­learn a few things. “You need a cer­tain amount of math in ma­chin­ing. We also get some home­work to do but I like to do ex­tra home­work so I can re­ally learn the field,” he com­mented en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

De­spite the chal­lenges, all three stu­dents like the way this vo­ca­tional school op­er­ates. “We learn so much more here com­pared to high school be­cause the classes are smaller. And the teach­ers are very pas­sion­ate and they know their stuff. They’re al­ways ready to help,” said Jeremy. “The teach­ers make you like it here. You don’t want to miss a day be­cause you’ll fall be­hind and you’ll dis­ap­point them,” he added. “It’s a very wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment here; I haven’t al­ways felt wel­come in high school or col­lege. The teach­ers re­ally care and it’s a lot eas­ier to stay mo­ti­vated to get your work done,” com­mented Karolynn. “It’s a fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment and you have lots of one on one time with your teach­ers. You don’t want to miss school,” said Bran­don.

Most schools know the value of spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and in­clude them in their cur­ricu­lum, and the Len­noxville Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre is no ex­cep­tion. “The stu­dents in weld­ing and ma­chin­ing got to visit the Mar­men shop in Trois Rivieres. The ma­chines there were in­cred­i­ble. They make wind tur­bine blades with welds on them al­most two feet wide!” said Jeremy. “We also spend a whole month fix­ing peo­ple’s stuff and we’ll make a de­mo­li­tion derby car, too.” “The Sec­re­tar­ial Stud­ies stu­dents will go to a job fair in Sher­brooke to see what types of com­pa­nies are hir­ing. We’re also do­ing some desk­top pub­lish­ing,” said Karolynn. The stu­dents in the Ma­chin­ing course are in­volved in a ‘very’ spe­cial ac­tiv­ity that Bran­don was en­thu­si­as­tic to talk about. “Stu­dents are work­ing vol­un­tar­ily to build forms for water fil­ters for Haiti. With one form, in one month the Haitians can make three hun­dred water fil­ters. We’re plan­ning to send twenty of them.”

Be­sides mar­ketable skills, these stu­dents are ben­e­fit­ting in other ways from this ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. “I’m so much more calm now. At the shop we were al­ways go­ing so fast, but here we learn to take our time,” said Jeremy. “I learnt to have a lot more con­fi­dence; to not sec­ond guess my­self,” men­tioned the Sec­re­tar­ial Stud­ies stu­dent. Bran­don agreed: “Yeah, I have more con­fi­dence. I did a test just this morn­ing and I wasn’t wor­ried. I also have more pa­tience now.”

Con­fi­dence now in the fu­ture is also part of the picture. “We get our Cana­dian Weld­ing Bureau cards here and then we’re cer­ti­fied to work all over Canada. That’s a big ex­tra at this school. And with the stages (field­work) that we do we can find a job like noth­ing. There’s so much de­mand for welders, in this area, too,” ex­plained Jeremy. Ma­chin­ists and sec­re­tar­ial as­sis­tants are also in de­mand in the area.

“This place is awe­some. When I do a good weld, it’s the best feel­ing in the world,” said Jeremy. “That’s so true. When I made a can­dle holder I brought it home to show my Mom,” added Bran­don.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the vo­ca­tional cour­ses be­ing of­fered at the Len­noxville Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre, call 819 563-5627, or con­sult their web­site.

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