This year has truly been a year of change. Due to budget cuts, we started the year with a double digit loss of staff, our fearless leader Dr. Sheila Harrity moved on to an exciting new opportunity in her career and we tragically lost our “Godfather” Mr. Ted Coghlin. Typical human nature is to resist change. However, in archetypal fashion, WTHS banded together, embraced the challenges, and is staying the course; for those that came before have prepared us well.
Our faculty, staff, and students remain dedicated to our mission as well as their personal goals of academic/technical success. We received our results from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the graduating class of 2014, and I am very happy to report that our four-year graduation rate improved to 96.8% and our dropout rate fell to 1%!
In December we hosted a college application and financial aid fair for our seniors. This event provided students an opportunity to work on their college applications and/or if undecided meet with college representatives. Also, students and parents were afforded the opportunity to receive information on financial aid.
On January 5th, we hosted U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. The Senator visited the school to see first-hand the best practices that earned both Blue Ribbon and national recognition. Senator Warren met with students from each of the four academies, who showcased the various capstone projects they are working on as well as the rigorous curriculum they receive. Albeit brief, her visit was chock-full of exciting projects. She left promising to be back!
On February 23rd, we again transported our entire school to the beautiful and historic Hanover Theater for our 7th Annual Motivational Speaker event. This year we welcomed Ms. Liz Murray. Ms. Murray was our first motivational speaker in 2009, she wowed the students and staff with her amazing story and achievements. She first spoke to us during her senior year at Harvard, she has since graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in psychology from Columbia University. Her story was the subject of a Lifetime Television produced movie entitled Homeless to Harvard. Liz Murray's life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big.
In March we hosted our first Junior Class college fair. Organized by our elite staff of guidance counselors in cooperation with Mass EdCo, the junior class was presented information on the college application process and could visit with over twenty colleges and technical schools to discuss future opportunities. Additionally, with the support of a Financial Literacy Grant, our own Finance and Marketing students spoke to students and parents about financial planning for post-secondary education. The latter garnered the attention of the Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. Treasurer Goldberg came to WTHS on March 16th with key members of her staff to tour the school, meet with students and faculty that have been the beneficiaries of the Financial Literacy Grant and then held a roundtable discussion on the future of Financial Literacy in our schools and community. The roundtable included 16 students, faculty, and administration, as well as representatives from the Worcester Credit Union, the State Treasures Office and our general advisory board. Treasurer Goldberg was very excited with all the great work that is being done.
We have accomplished much and there is much more to do. In April we will be visited by DESE for our Coordinated Program Review (CPR). Everyone in the school has been working diligently to prepare for this intensive review and we are confident that we will receive a favorable evaluation.
I couldn’t be more happy or proud of the WTHS family. All of this success could not have happened without supportive parents and guardians. We will continue to work together to ensure your child’s success.
Kyle J. Brenner
Worcester Technical High School