Hartford Area Career & Technology Center
“What do you want to be?” my guidance counselors would ask. Well, as a sophomore at Hartford High School I was more concerned with whom I wanted to be, and worrying about my future seemed less important, at the time. In fact, worrying is what most of us do in the first couple of years in high school; worrying about homework, jobs, relationships, and so much more. I began to spend more time worrying about the next time I would be able to relax and enjoy myself than what my major in college would be. So, my junior year in high school, when we were introduced to the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC), I decided it might be nice to get out of my daily routine of basic classes and joined the Allied Medical program. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I was interested in helping people.
As the year wore on, however, I began to change my mind. Interior design seemed more interesting. So, a couple of months into the school year I transferred to Engineering and Architectural Design (EAD) and, as a senior this year, I am still in this program. I am a hands-on learning kind of person and I love art, so creating things with my own hands, things I never knew I could make, fascinated me. The EAD classroom is wide and open, with large windows across one wall. The sunshine flows through, lighting up the room and brightening our moods. It is the perfect atmosphere for inspiration. So many things began to interest me; I began to feel as if I could do anything that I set my mind to. After successfully designing and creating a ukulele last year I knew this class was for me. Everyone in this class has the same interest, more or less, so, for the most part, we all get along.
I am in a class of all boys, with my friend, Brittani, and I being the only girls. You might assume that could cause issues in the classroom, but it doesn’t. There is such a healthy sense of humor in this class that we spend our time laughing and smiling as we work. Those who stop by the classroom can sense how much fun we have. We enjoy what we are doing and we enjoy ourselves and it shows. It is so satisfying to design and build a model house and know that it could someday be actually built. In fact, in our senior year, we have a competition in which we design a house and one person’s design gets picked for the Building Trades class to build. It was fun to design a house with the knowledge that it could be built in the next couple of years, and the friendly competition made it even more so.
As a senior I have decided to major in art therapy next year. What? Psychology? Yes, believe it or not this class has helped me immensely when it came to applying to college. I was able to find my true passion in EAD and I will forever thank Mr. Duffy, our teacher, for being there for me as I found my own path. He truly cares about each one of our futures and that is not something you can always count on at high school. I have designed a brain house this year. I decided, for my senior project, to intertwine my interests by creating a house that functions like the brain. It has been a challenging and fulfilling project and Mr. Duffy has encouraged me through the entire process.
I am coming to the end of my senior year and I will miss the HACTC immensely. However, I am not worried anymore. The vocational center has helped me to prepare for college in ways I could never have imagined, ways that wouldn’t be possible at my high school. I have made friends, become a member of the National Technical Honor Society, and discovered not only who I am, but also what I want to do with my future. I highly recommend the HACTC for any junior or senior in the Upper Valley and I thank Mr. Duffy, EAD, and the HACTC for welcoming me with open arms and providing me with confidence and inspiration.