, Salem, MA


November 26, 2012

Letter: Invest in career-technical programs

To the editor:

I was struck by the letter posted on Nov. 17 by Brian Cranney and Linda Saris in support of career-technical programs.

In 1982, I was hired by Bob Pesce, occupational education director at that time to help start up a nursing aide program at Salem High School. He had received a grant to develop this program at Salem High School. In 1985, this program was dissolved as the grant monies ran out. To this day, I have believed that this was a huge mistake.

The students who opted for this program went to Salem Hospital (NSMC-Salem) and Shaughnessy (Spaulding) Hospital and learned the basics of good nursing care. They were respected by the staff and hospitals, and they gave their hearts and souls to their patients. Many went on to college, and all got jobs. Some were even hired part time (weekends, etc.) before they even graduated from Salem High School. I will never forget the pride these students and families showed the day they graduated.

ALL of my students graduated. Many of them would tell you that, but for this course, they may not have. Today, many of them continue to be our caretakers. Others went on to other areas within the health field, and some decided health care was not for them, but all became productive, employed citizens.

Some who entered my program came with no goals, were not doing well in their classes and did not believe they had a future. When they graduated, they were amazed by what they had learned, and, yes, they all saw a future. I saw each of them grow from being a kid unsure of where or what they wanted out of life to becoming caring, dependable and self-assured graduating ADULTS. EVERY ONE of them was ready to take on the world, and they felt good about what they had accomplished at Salem High School.

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