Mike Flack, 17, and Carolyn Simard, 16, are studying security and law enforcement at the Mineville branch of Champlain Valley Educational Services.
The Mineville branch of Champlain Valley Educational Services, a technical school with 81 students, held its spring open house April 30.
According to Dr. Grace Stay, principal, in addition to showcasing the program to prospective students, the event, “provides parents of our programs an opportunity to come and meet with the teachers, see how their kids have been doing, and look at the projects that the kids have been working on.”
The program is primarily made up of high school students, according to Kevin Donoghue, school counselor, with only three post-graduates at the Mineville location.
“We actually do have post-high school students here and we’ll be expanding on that in the future,” Donoghue said.
The school has had a positive impact on many pupils, according to the counselor.
“I’ve seen students who have struggled in school,” Donoghue said. “They come here and they find something they’re really good at and interested in. They find something that fits their personality and their natural abilities and they get high grades.”
Stay struck a similar note.
“We have some students who come here who struggle in high school, who hate school,” the principal said. “They get here and it’s a much more hands on opportunity for them.”
The Mineville branch boasts small class sizes, according to the principal, with the smallest having a teacher-to-student ratio of 6-1 and the largest having a ratio of 10-1.
Emily Simard, 18, graduates this year from the cosmetology program.
“You make new friends and family,” Simard said of the experience. “And I love to do hair.”
Among other things, graduating from the program will allow her to work with a temporary license.
Mike Flack, 17, graduates this year from the law enforcement program.
“My grandfather worked for the Ti police department so I’ve always kind of just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Flack said. “I want to go out and protect people and do my part in the community.”
Students can get their security guard certificates through the program and graduates receive a leg-up in police department hiring processes, Flack said.
“Everybody just looks at us differently. If we were to apply to a police department it just gives us that much edge that we’ve been through the class and had previous training,” he said.
CVES as a whole has seen a recent increase in enrollment, which Stay attributes to the poor economy.
“Kids who are unsure about college are even more unsure about the commitment of the expense,” Stay said, adding that graduating from the CVES program gave students immediate entry into higher-paying jobs.
However, the Mineville branch has not seen a similar growth in enrollment.
“Part of the problem is that the local districts are losing enrollment,” Stay said. “All the schools are struggling financially as well. So they’re not able to allow as many students to attend because of their own budget restrictions.”