Thriving Carroll County school fosters outstanding Future Craftsmen
Betsy Donovan, Principal of the Carroll County Career and Technology Center (CCCTC), has pinpointed some drivers behind the success of her school and students. At this year’s BC&E Craftsmanship Awards, CCCTC students won all four Future Craftsman & Design Awards.
“One of our greatest strengths is the fact that the folks who teach the career programs, came to teaching after having their own career in their own trade,” Donovan said. In addition to bringing expertise and real life experience to the classroom, “they come into teaching positions with passion for the trades and that boosts the passion that students already have for the trade they elected to study.”
The involvement of industry partners on Professional Advisory Committees (PACs) for each trade taught at CCCTC further strengthens the programs, she said. “PAC members and instructors collaborate on what is happening in the industry right now to ensure that our students are gaining the knowledge and experience they need to be successful in industry after they graduate.”
That passion to learn and eagerness to excel in some part of the construction industry is evident in the four winners of the 2021 Future Craftsmen Awards.
An Honor Roll student at Winters Mill High School and a welding student at CCCTC, John Alcorn said he has become “the go-to person in my welding class for the PlasmaCAM, so if anyone in the class needs something designed or cut out, they can ask me to help.”
Alcorn has already used his welding skills to create a sign for his school’s main entrance, numbered metal cutouts for CCCTC teachers, business signs and assorted personal items. At home, he has helped build a treehouse and a retaining wall, install shelving in the garage, complete a basement remodel that turned unfinished space into a finished room, and “full construction of a bathroom, from the electrical to the plumbing to soldering and HVAC.”
After high school, he plans to become an apprentice at his cousin’s welding company.
Similarly, Emma Santoro has helped her father complete assorted construction projects at home, including building bird houses, a bed frame and finishing a basement. She even designed, selected materials and helped construct a basement bar. A drafting student at CCCTC, Santoro has developed skills with AutoCAD and takes pride in developing drawings that are accurate and highly detailed. She has enhanced those design and drafting skills by taking AP Computer Science Principles, Honors Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus and Honors Studio Art at Century High School.
Before finishing high school, Santoro will complete 1,000 hours of study in technical, architectural, civil and computer-aided drafting, and sit for the AutoCAD User Certification Exam. After graduation, she plans to attend a community college to study architectural or civil drafting, and land an internship or job to gain work experience.
Manchester Valley High School student Justin Pfoutz has obviously developed both a passion for masonry and an understanding of how it can benefit the world.
“In the masonry program, I construct concrete oyster habitats for the Chesapeake Bay oysters and wildlife species to help their ecosystem recover and thrive. I also form concrete plaques for veterans,” said Pfoutz, who also attends CCTC. “The biggest project I am working on is constructing stone benches for the local school to use outside.”
Pfoutz, who juggles high school studies with jobs as a farm hand and a landscaping crew member, also has clear plans for his career: “After high school, I plan on working for a local mason while attempting to start my own masonry business. Eventually, I’d like to be completely running my own company with several employees,” he said.
CCTC Electrical Construction student Spencer Armitage, who attends Winters Mill High School, has similar entrepreneurial plans. Armitage who also juggles school with two jobs, is described by his CCCTC instructor as a thoughtful and mature young man who readily tackles electrical construction challenges and extensively researches materials in order to identify best possible solutions.
“After I graduate high school, I plan on working for an electrical company, finishing my apprenticeship and eventually getting my journeyman while going to trade school for electrical construction,” Armitage said. “I plan on becoming a master electrician once I’m eligible and I plan on eventually owning my own electrical business.”