53 students graduate from High Tech North
High Tech North hosted its 2009 graduation ceremony Tuesday night for 53 students ranging from teenagers to middle-aged adults.
The center in north Cape Coral opened in 1993 and is considered the premier vocational and technical school in the city. It offers programs in culinary arts, practical nursing and Web design.
According to Assistant Director Bob Fain, this year’s graduation had a twist. More parents were accepting their diplomas than ever before.
“It’s a fun thing to watch because parents are getting their diplomas and the kids have to watch,” he said. “The parents have had to sacrifice time and money to get to this point. This sets a good example for their kids.”
After the economy turned sour in 2008 and with unemployment in Lee County at 11.8 percent, many Cape residents decided to return to school and earn new skills, a certification or bona fide diploma.
“When times go down people say they want to go to school,” said Susan Hutchins, administrative assistant to the school’s director. “It is a good time, there is a lot of financial backing.”
High Tech North typically enrolls more adults than high school students, but students range from age 16 and up. Hutchins said the school has seen an increase in older students.
Not every graduating student was present at the ceremony Tuesday.
“Some may have graduated around Christmas time and came back for our once a year ceremony,” said Fain.
Local attorney Victor Arias, from the Arias Law Firm, acted as guest speaker at the ceremony. In his speech he stressed that graduating from High Tech North is only the beginning for every graduate.
Arias also shared his own life experiences and how they molded him.
“This is one step in your life and you’re not going to stop here. This is just the beginning,” he said.
One of the graduates honored with a diploma on Tuesday was High Tech North Student of the Year Joshua Noom. A digital design student, Noom beat out five other students for the award including Patricia Dugo in practical nursing, Tracy Ball in network support, Jenna Hess in the facial or nail specialist program, Alexis Monsalve from Web design and Rochelle Kreller from culinary arts.
“Josh is one of the most talented students I have had the pleasure of working with in all my years of instruction,” said design teacher Kevin Hawk in a prepared statement.
Noom and other students were presented with awards at a ceremony Friday at High Tech North.
According to Hutchins, more than 250 students, staff and family members attended the graduation ceremony.