East Lyme High students get first-hand look at other options after graduation

Porter & Chester job exploration
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 9:34 PM EDT
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EAST LYME, Conn. (WFSB) - Students in East Lyme are getting some hands-on experience to help them decide what to do when they graduate.

Shaun Vanlew teaches at Porter and Chester in New London.

“It’s instilling in their mind the blue-collar life,” Vanlew said.

A traditional four-year college isn’t for everyone, and demand for the trades is up.

“A lot of kids don’t want to go to conventional colleges. So when they have an opportunity like this to enhance their lives right here in a shop, they got the world in their hand,” said Vanlew.

Students from East Lyme High School now have a chance to explore the trades before committing to college.

Gavin Winchester already knows college isn’t for him.

“I like manual work with my hands. I’m not much of a textbook kind of guy,” Gavin said.

Students focus on a lot of different things when they’re at Porter and Chester, including dental work, medical assistance, and welding.

Through a new partnership with Porter and Chester, five East Lyme students spent some of the spring semester out of the building.

They traveled to New London twice a week for five weeks learning the basics of dental work, electrical, medical assistance, plumbing, and welding.

“It gives them a better framework for when they make decisions on post-secondary experiences,” said David Fasulo, East Lyme High School Administrator.

Carter Bonura is committed to UConn to study civil engineering.

“I’m going to be working with a lot of electrical engineers, plumbers, and welders so I decided to start getting a better understanding of what they do so I can do my job in the future better,” said Bonura.

This semester was just a pilot, but it was successful.

More students have an interest, which means the course will be offered again in the fall.