BRICK – Frank Servidio, a sixth-grader from Stafford, came to the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Career Discovery Day at the Brick center because he is interested in 3D printing and cars; but he also got the chance to experience welding by reaching into a booth through a safety wall.
“It was pretty fun and really helpful to see what it’s like to weld,” Servidio said. “Now I’m also interested in welding.”
Exposing elementary- and middle-school kids to the 30 programs available to high school students is what the annual event is all about, said OCVTS Communications Director Jean Sullivan.
Now in its fourth year, students from all over Ocean County started arriving at the Brick Center at 9 a.m. on a recent Saturday, and as they entered, they received Career Passports that led them on an adventure through career exploration, she said.
Afterwards, students would bring their fully stamped passport to OCVTS admission representative Nicole Wallner where they would play Plinko and win a prize, such as a $5 bakery gift certificate, a t-shirt, sweatshirt or water bottle.
“This way they feel like they walked out a winner, and they get something free from OCVTS that promotes our programs without even knowing, because when they complete the passport they have seen a lot of our programs,” Wallner said.
All the programs had hands-on activities. For example, while visiting the culinary arts program, kids got to decorate a cupcake under the watchful eyes of seniors (currently enrolled in a OCVTS program) and staff members.
If they visited the fashion design classroom, kids got to create a fashion sketch; in a green screen area, they could create a short video; and those who were interested in photography could get their passport photo taken.
Dan Arnold of Barnegat brought his two sons, Ryan, 11 and Devin, 8 to see computer engineering, but stopped to decorate a cupcake first.
“We smelled the food and we couldn’t resist,” Arnold said. “My daughter attends OCVTS in Toms River, so we’re doing this so the kids could see the computer lab.”
In the automotive classroom, Toms River high school junior Andria Walsh was studying a wheel alignment schematic.
“I plan to attend the University of NW Ohio for high-performance motor sports,” she said. “A friend introduced me to cars in my freshman year and I have a passion for it.”
OCVTS also offers three full-time academies, seven accelerated programs for adults, and several hundred adult evening classes, including cooking, fitness, computer skills and much more.
During the Career Discovery Day, the Academy of Law and Public Safety held police arrest procedures with the help of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit.
In the robotics lab, High School seniors Joe Cafiero of Lacey, Matthew Posemato of Bayville, Sierra Reilly of Lacey and John Tirpak-Winters of Forked River were demonstrating the basics of robotics and computer modeling programs to dozens of interested students during the event.
The day also featured face painting, nail art, games, prizes and much more.
To learn more about programs offered by OCVTS, visit OCVTS.org.