Getting technical

Nashua High School South offers middle schoolers visual tours

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI A student in the Manufacturing and Machine Technology career and technical education program at Nashua High School South speaks to Fairgrounds Middle School eighth-grade students about what he is working on during a virtual tour Friday.

NASHUA – Since the start of their careers, Nashua Technology Center Co-Directors Amanda Bastoni and Mike McQuilkin have been working to vertically align curriculum between Nashua’s middle and high schools and increasing exposure of the 18 career and technical education (CTE) programs.

McQuilkin continued these efforts Friday afternoon with a visit to Fairgrounds Middle School to share with eighth-grade students the numerous opportunities they will have once they walk through the doors of Nashua High schools North and South.

McQuilkin, Video Production and Broadcasting Instructor Jeff Leone and a student ambassador, Julia Sullivan, traveled to Fairgrounds Middle School to speak with eighth-grade students about the CTE programs offered. They were also there to give the students a virtual tour of various programs at South.

Students at Fairgrounds Middle School are approaching course selection time, so McQuilkin said this visit was crucial.

“One of our big challenges is getting middle school students to see our program. We would love to do tours, but trying to do tours and managing all of Nashua’s eighth-graders is challenging,” McQuilkin said. “We do tours during our open house, but it’s challenging busing hundreds of kids a month for tours.”

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Career and Technical Education ambassador Julia Sullivan listens to a student’s question, Friday at Fairgrounds Middle School. Nashua Technology Center South Director Mike McQuilkin, Sullivan and Video Production and Broadcasting Instructor Jeff Leone visited the school to host a virtual tour for eighth-graders so they could see the various CTE programs offered.

So they decided to try something new this year – a virtual tour. Student ambassadors from South’s Video Production program stayed behind at school and went to different CTE classes at South to give the eighth-graders a tour. Leone said this would give the students a better opportunity to see the high schoolers in action in their classes as well. The ambassadors worked to field questions to the students in various CTE classes so that the eighth-graders could get a sense of the nature of each class. The students virtually toured the Video Productions, Machining and Electric classrooms.

Aside from actually touring the classrooms, students were also able to ask questions about the programs. McQuilkin told the students about all the great opportunities that come out of participating in the programs, such as being able to earn college credits or licenses, having internships in big companies like Hitchiner Manufacturing Co. and BAE Systems and working in fields that are in need of younger employees. Sullivan discussed block scheduling with the students and shared her experiences in the Careers in Education program.

The students at Fairgrounds Middle School will begin their course selections in early March, so this virtual tour gave them a better idea of what some of the classes they might sign up for will entail.

“When they can actually see it, it makes it more real,” Laura Labrie, a guidance counselor at Fairgrounds Middle School, said.

McQuilkin said from here, he will be continuing with the virtual tours. The next stop is Elm Street Middle School and then Pennichuck Middle School. Those who are interested in learning more about the Nashua Technology Center can visit