Students at Leominster High’s CTEi turn attention to school improvements
For most school years, students from the Center Technical Education Innovation have been able put their vocational training to use on projects in the community, but recently they’ve started using their skills to benefit their own school’s facilities.
Currently, students are working on two projects at the high school: construction of a brand-new school store, and construction of a space that will double as a classroom for students learning how to install solar panels and storage for the panels.
“We’re trying to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak,” CTEi Director David Fiandaca said. “The idea is that each year, students will be trained in the electrical program on how to install photovoltaic panels on the roof and then, at the end of each year, take them down so the next class can put them back up again.
The roughly 100-square-foot-storage area is located behind the high school’s rubber-floor gymnasium and will also be used to store supplies for MCAS testing. Energy generated by the panels will be used to offset the school’s electricity costs and provide power to a car-charger port that will be installed.
In addition to installing and removing the panels, students involved with the electrical trade program will also be able to monitor the energy they’re generating and how those levels are affected by changing seasons and other environmental factors.
“In the past, we had a school store and it was part of the vocational curriculum to train students in entrepreneurship,” CTEi lead cluster teacher Ben Joseph said.
Unlike the school’s former store, which operated out of a classroom, the new store will be located in a newly built space located across from the cafeteria.
Open only during lunch hours and only to LHS students, the store will feature school apparel with designs from CTEi’s graphics students.
Construction on the new store, which was funded through a grant by Digital Federal Credit Union, has already been completed, with a grand opening scheduled for Dec. 19.
The school has also recently taken on a new scholarship fund intended to perpetuate CTEi’s mission of offering resources to trade students. The recently created Success Through Alliances and Resources, or STAR, scholarship will allocate money for students seeking post-secondary studies and for educators in need of state-of-the-art equipment for their classrooms.
The school has already established a GoFundMe account to start the scholarship fund, which officials hope will reach $10,000 over the next four years.