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Region 9; Real life experience
MEXICO- When it comes time for your teenager to attend high school and really begin thinking about what they want to do post-graduation, will you give a thought to any schooling outside of the local high schools?
Region 9 School of Applied Technology is not just for the want-to-be mechanic, truck driver, woods or metal worker. Did you know they offer a multitude of courses that range from nursing and early childhood education to computer technology and coming soon, firefighting?
The staff at Region 9 likes to think of themselves as the planters of seeds that will last a lifetime in the young adults that choose to get the hands-on education their school offers.
Each year, Region 9 serves the River Valley towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru, Rumford, Mexico, Byron, Roxbury, Andover and Hanover. They accept students from Telstar Regional High School and Dirigo and Mountain Valley high schools.
You may ask how they get their funding and if you will be responsible for tuition. The answer, you already pay for Region 9 tuition through your local taxes, so why not explore their class offerings with your teen.
Their courses run in conjunction with classes at the high schools to ensure that students are getting their required credits to graduate at the end of their four years.
Classes such as truck driving and automotives are offered, where students have the opportunity to get their Class B license and their state license to inspect motor vehicles, if in fact they plan to open their own garage after gradution.
The truck driving course alone would cost roughly $3,000 if a person were to take the class through adult education. The cost to your teen, while still in high school, free. It doesn't take a mathmetician to see the great benefit Region 9 offers.
With the ever-increasing amount of computer technology to keep up with, Region 9 also offers a class to teach students how to dismantle computers, repair them, program them and build them from scratch.
Instructed by Ruth Brown, the class ranges anywhere from 18 to 24 students throughout the year.
Recently, Region 9 sent Heather Moore, a senior at Telstar Regional High School, to the Skills USA Competition in Bangor. Moore received a silver medal for Technical Computer Applications. With the knowledge she gained through her education at Region 9, she is planning to attend White Mountains Community College in Berlin, NH to study Information Technology.
Another course offering is the nursing program instructed by Wendy Low, a Registered Nurse who is also employed at Rumford Hospital.
The nursing course is offered to juniors and seniors at the three high schools and gives students hands-on experience at the local nursing homes, Med-Care Ambulance and the hospital.
The classroom resembles a hospital ward, complete with beds, intravenous stands and dummies to practice on. Students in the class noted that they like the freedom the class offers them, more of an adult atmosphere.
Brooke Kersey also competed at Skills USA in the Medical Terminology Competition and placed fourth.
At the end of the two year course students will be able to test for their Maine State Nursing Certification. Low noted, "These students gain a lot of skills that will help them through life. They leave here with more empathy and I do hear back from former students that tell me they were better prepared because of the class offering."
While all the classes at Region 9 offer a unique hands-on approach, none is more unique than the pre-school center located in the building. Supervised by Terri Provencher, she has, on average 16 children in her charge each day and up to six high school students learning how to guide toddlers through their early years of life.
For only $3 per day, the waiting list is long. Children who attend the morning class are offered a snack, constructive play time and education through colorful displays on the walls and endless literary opportunity.
Provencher noted that 90 percent of the students who attend her class move on to post secondary education or a childhood education field.
With these and many more opportunities such as automotives, building construction, forestry and metal trades at area teens' fingertips, the River Valley can be assured of a future of talented, well-skilled and driven members of the community.
Upcoming events at Region 9 include the announcement of the student of the year on April 30 and the annual Woodsmen's Meet through the Forestry Program will be held at Welch’s Campground in Dixfield on May 12 and 13.
For further information on course offerings at Region 9, visit www.region9mainecte.org.