WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 162 of 211

Chris Symonds's parents were supportive of his decision. His father Bill Symonds was director of Harvard Graduate School of Edu - cation's Pathways to Prosperity Project and primary author of the report it issued. This report gained international attention for its findings that we could help more young adults succeed by offering them multiple paths to success. Today Bill Symonds is founder and director of the Global Path - ways Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Global Pathways brings educators, thought leaders, and business executives together to address how to train young men and women to be the skilled, knowledgeable, creative workers our employers need. "Long-lasting learning occurs when a student is interested in the subject matter and can see the connec- tion to his or her future life," Bill Symonds says. "Our son Chris transformed his life at Minuteman. He represented Massachusetts in the national Skills USA competition in culi- nary arts after winning the Gold Medal in Massachusetts, worked directly under Ming Tsai as a student intern at the restaurant Blue Ginger, and went on to the Culinary Institute of America, widely regarded as the top school in the world for future chefs." Bill Symonds believes Weston school guid- ance counselors and teachers could be more open-minded about the learning opportu- nities vocational and technical education presents for many Weston teens. But old stereotypes die hard, like the idea that vocational systems exist to offer an alternative opportu- nity for the less talented or more troublesome students to succeed. Today Minuteman's offerings in engineering, construction, and trades range from automotive to telecommunications and fiber optics. In life sciences and services, they span biotech, marketing, and culinary arts. "At Minuteman," Chris Symonds says, "You can excel in something that makes you happy." Vocational technical education was created with the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 that provided federal funds to support teaching agriculture, trades, home economics, and industry. In 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Act expanded the mandate to include preparing voca- tional technical students both for careers and post-secondary education. In The Changing Face of Career and Technical Education, a position paper released in 2012, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, superintendent-director of Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, makes the case for helping the wider public under- stand the mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE). Public perception in communities like Weston may need to catch up with today's CTE so all students can be comfortable pursuing the schooling that best meets their learning styles and career goals. 161 s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e education "excel in something that makes you happy"

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