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Burlington tech students find more permanent locations

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 8:47 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - While most Burlington High School students ended up in the old Macy’s building downtown last year, tech students needed a more hands-on place to go.

Now, they have permanent homes. Students and faculty say they are settled in and back to hands-on learning.

“We have all these resources and the time we can spend on doing things we like to do,” tenth-grader Hayden Jessiman said.

Jessiman is in the design and illustration program through the Burlington Tech Center, also known as BTC. Like his instructor, it’s the first year in their Cherry Street location

“After like 10 minutes, it felt really comfortable and fun,” said Jessiman.

That comfort is here to stay, at least for the immediate future.

Director of BTC Jason Gingold says students were in nine locations last year. This year, that was reduced to five, one of which is right on Cherry Street. It houses things from art and design to forensics to health sciences.

“We’re back five days a week, which is fantastic, so again, we are using that opportunity again to find what’s best for the student,” said Gingold. “And so our support staff are divided up and we try to get to every location every day and again, what kind of opportunities can they have to project them forward.”

Despite the lack of recruitment last year because of COVID-19, they still have about 250 students in their tech programs this year. And being back in person in a set location is already paying off.

“It’s been a real challenge to sort of pick up and reset ourselves in new locations,” said Jason Raymond, a teacher in the digital media lab at BTC.

Raymond says that stability means he’s back to his student-focused approach.

“The magic of the class is really when these students are able to work and collaborate in person,” said Raymond.

That magic is already getting sprinkled. A few weeks in and two students from BHS and CVU produced a beat together that was picked up by a recording artist.

Raymond says you can’t get that over Zoom.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity that would have never occurred had they not come back to school and worked together face-to-face,” said Raymond.

Nathan Lorrain says he will have the chance to learn everything in the car, front to back bumper and everything in between -- wiring to engine.

It’s about the technical knowledge, but also about looking forward to a career.

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