Freshmen get ‘Kick Start’
By GRACE PECCI
NASHUA – Power Scholars staff and students united Friday morning to recognize more than 20 rising freshmen who officially earned one high school credit by completing the Kick Start program.
Through this endeavor, students have the opportunity to explore five different career and technical education (CTE) classes available to them through the Nashua Technology Center.
The students spend half the day in Power Scholars Academy, a program run through the YMCA and 21st Century programs that aims to stop summer learning loss in students by providing educational opportunities in reading and math.
For the second part of their day, rising freshmen spend time completing projects in culinary, woodworking, cosmetology, careers in education, and video production and broadcasting.
Students first got to explore each program before interviewing into the tract that most interested them.
The students then spent three days doing in-depth training in their program of choice. They then spent three more days the next week learning about their second choice.
More than 20 students will now be able to walk through the doors of Nashua High School North and South with an elective credit in their pockets.
“If you are in CTE in Nashua, you stand out because of these opportunities. You stand out as a student,” Nashua Technology Center South Director Mike McQuilkin told the students during a Friday recognition ceremony.
“Not only do these courses prepare you for careers, but most offer college credits while you’re in high school. Take advantage of these courses,” McQuilkin said.
Rising students in grades 6-8 were also invited to the ceremony to see what may lie in their futures.
“For all of you younger students out there, I hope to see you being recognized for our certificate program in the coming years,” McQuilkin said.
During the ceremony, students and CTE teachers reflected on their time spent in Kick Start. The CTE teachers had nothing but praise for the students.
Careers in Education instructor and Kick Start program coordinator Martine Cloutier said staff members were impressed with the maturity and focus of all the students during the past few weeks.
As for her Kick Start students, she said, “They showed us they could work as a team and be able to have children, by the end, really respect them. They were great positive role models,” Cloutier said.
Cosmetology instructor Colleen Cherico said of her students, “It was such a pleasure to have these kids in the cosmetology program. They went above and beyond.”
Cherico said she told the Kick Start students to visit her during the school year.
“I can’t wait to see them in the future,” Cherico said.
Video production and broadcasting instructor Jeff Leone said he was impressed with the students.
“I couldn’t believe how professional they were and how much they appreciated the experiences that they were getting, not only in video production, but also the other courses they took,” Leone said.
The students also had nothing but positive remarks. Rising freshman Nalisha Iraola said her fears of high school before starting the program included barely knowing people and being late to class.
“I got to see around both Nashua High School North and South and I was able to see what the classes looked like,” Iraola said.
She added, “Kick Start has changed my view of high school because it made me feel more comfortable in a new school that us freshmen are going to.”
Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.