New skills, new opportunities at Old Colony

By Andrea Ray | Aug 24, 2017
Courtesy of: Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School Students familiarized themselves with the campus and each other during Freshman Academy at Old Colony in August.

Rochester — Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School Superintendent Aaron Polansky knows his students have a lot of choices in front of them. That's why whatever decision they make, he wants them to have the skills for success.

"We're focusing on reading and writing skills this year," he explained. School begins on Tuesday, August 29. The school’s focus this year is “Literacy Across the Curriculum,” which encourages students to hone writing and speaking skills no matter which vocation they are studying.

"Those skills are essential whether the student goes to college or enters the workforce,” Polansky said.

Students in several vocations may soon be seeing early college opportunities appear. Old Colony recently partnered with Bristol Community College to pilot an early-college program for computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) students. Several of the students stepped back onto Old Colony's campus to try out its "Summer College Program," which earned them three college credits from Bristol Community College

"We want to keep expanding on that," Polansky added, citing the advantage of earning college credits early in both education and financial planning.

Other students will have the opportunity to learn media and digital journalism skills this year, as a new club begins.

Old Colony is introducing a new TV & Broadcasting Club; participating students will produce a monthly television show that will be shown on ORCTV.

The school is on the lookout for its freshman students as well, opting to give them more time to learn about the school and its culture.

This year's Old Colony freshmen recently finished “Freshman Academy." The Academy was a three-day event for new students to learn about Old Colony’s culture, get to know the high school campus, and meet staff members and fellow students.

This year marked the first time that Old Colony had ever run the event.

Renowned motivational speaker Chad Hymas, who was previously named on of the 10 most inspirational people in the world by The Wall Street Journal, is also visiting campus this fall. The visit continues a line of well-known speakers who have visited Old Colony's campus, including Temple Grandin.

Hymas was paralyzed in 2001, at the age of 27, when a 2,000-pound hay bale crushed his neck. Only two years later though, he set a new record, wheeling his wheelchair from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, a distance of 513 miles. Hymas will speak on October 5 at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $20, and proceeds will benefit the newly-established Old Colony Educational Foundation.

Opening day for all schools is August 29. There is no school on Friday, Sept.1 , or Monday, Sept. 4 (Labor Day).

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