With varying passions, several students are furthering their interests and career knowledge through specialty programs at Thomas Edison High School of Technology.
The vocational and technical school offers courses in seventeen career and technology education programs. Enrolled students travel to the high school via provided transportation and attend three class periods. Through the program, students earn at least one and a half credits per semester; many participants can also gain college credit at certain colleges.
Many Blake students have participated in the Edison program throughout the years as members in the construction cluster, human and consumer services cluster, information technology, and computer science cluster, and more. Sophomore Ellie Schell is currently enrolled in the human and consumer services cluster and is taking courses in cosmetology.
Having grown up surrounded by the cosmetology industry as well as having had a strong interest in science, Shell expressed her desire to apply to the program. She says, “I am planning to use cosmetology as my way to get through college…it’s something I want to do my entire life–if not my main thing, definitely as my side thing.”
Many of Schell’s classes pertain to the science aspect of cosmetology. “Our last theory was skin, so we learned the layers, diseases, and chemical reactions of the skin and disorders that could be acquired in a salon or people can come in with,” Schell says.
Balancing learning with hands-on experience, Schell adds, “we have elderly people, disabled people, or people who call Edison…We’ll do their hair, nails, and even waxing sometimes.” Schell disproves any misconceptions that involvement with the program would be strenuous. She says, “Having [Edison] in the morning is refreshing… I am able to move around and do something I am really interested in.”
Participating in The Academy of Health Professionals (AOHP), junior Tameia Williams prepares for a career in pediatrics. The program allows students to receive many credentials, like CPR, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), as well as the opportunity to complete an internship in a hospital.
Through labs and demonstrations, Williams further learns the body systems and other units. “With the digestive system, we made our own stomach acid and dissolved food in it,” Williams says. “My teacher is also thinking about taking us to a body farm, where people can donate their bodies to science and you can do things like dissect them.”
Building a house in the construction cluster, senior Dana Hewitt is expanding her skills in the carpentry sector. The program builds a house every two years, and the proceeds from the purchase go to the next project. Some of these student-built homes have been part of the community since the 1970s.
Hewitt’s tasks vary each day, but all contribute to the core foundation of the house. “Carpentry is wood, so we’re framing the house. We do a lot of miscellaneous stuff like siding, side trim work, drywall, insulation, installing cabinets,” says Hewitt.
The Edison clusters provide programs for a multitude of concentrations and specialty careers; any 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who are in good standing at an MCPS school are eligible to apply. Schell says, “With Edison, you get the right material, you get more material, and it’s for free. So, I definitely recommend any incoming freshmen to look at it.”