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Twenty-one students graduate from summer JAG program


August 02, 2012
BERLIN - Twenty-one students graduated last week from the JAG summer program, during which students worked with the Applachian Mountain Club, Berlin Parks and Recreation Department, Tri-County CAP and technology within the high school.

This is the second year the JAG (Jobs for America's Graduates) program students worked with AMC and the city's recreation department. New this year, three students worked with Tri-County CAP's summer program for children and because of new printers being installed throughout the district, two students helped with networking them.

The students working with AMC are constructing a new trail from the back of the high school parking lot to the top of Mt Jasper. This is their second year of working on this and they are about half-way to the top. Mt. Jasper is on the National Register of Historic Places because native people mined stone from there to make tools and weapons.

The JAG program is led by Lisa King who teaches the program through the school years. JAG is a regular class at the school, meeting daily, during which King provides information on potential careers, what kind of education they will need and on any other issue student might bring to her.

This summer students worked four days on site then on Fridays met for environmental and vocational education.

On the last day before graduation, this writer met with the students who worked on the trails and asked what they liked (or didn't) and if it influenced what they thought they might do for jobs after graduation.

Eric Hogan said he enjoyed the work. He likes working outdoors and found it worthwhile to learn about what you can do for outdoor careers.

Ryan Riendeau said he likes working outdoors and felt it was a great way to stay in shape.

Sarah Coy was working on trails for the second year. "I love this, ask anybody," she said. She loves trail breaking and sees it as a good career option for herself. She said she also felt it was a good team-building activity.

Mario Molina said yes and no when asked if he enjoyed the work. He said he likes the outdoors, but ultimately wants to be an actor and said he lost an opportunity to be in a play this summer.

Joshua Haley said he liked it because it was physical, but said he didn't think he'd want to do it as a career. He isn't sure yet what he want to do for a career.

Bethany Taylor, outreach coordinator for the AMC worked with students both last year and this year. She said it came about through Sally Manikian who said it would be nice to have a trail up that mountain.Students didn't finish this year and will work on the trail again next year.

Prior to partnering with AMC, students worked on landscaping and maintenance projects around the schools. "Not particularly inspiring work for them," Taylor said. "There's so much more they can do and kids have energy to burn."

Thursday morning, July 26, 21 students graduated from the summer program. Twelve worked on trail building, two within the school linking up printers, four with parks and recreation and three with Tri-County CAP.

"We're thrilled with the collaboration, this is our second year with AMC," Priscilla Parisien, State-Wide Director of JAG said. "It went so well, they (AMC), on their own wrote a grant so they could work here again this year. It makes such a difference in kids' lives. It gives them renewed hope that there's something career-wise out there. We've been very fortunate to have the support of the communities and other agencies out there."

Alex DeLucia said he was thrilled that half of the students they worked with last year were back again this year and hoped that would continue.

"I'm really proud of all of you and hope you are proud of what you did," Bethany Taylor, who with Mike Farmer and Alana Sannell worked directly with students, said.

Also present was Joseph Costello of Tri-County CAP who gave the students working with that organization a special certificate.

King introduced Brianna Butkiewicz, who had been a JAG student and just graduated.

"I don't honestly know what I'd do without this program," Butkiewicz said. Through the JAG program she had determined she'd eventually like to go into law and saw the military as a way to get there. As of just two days prior, she had enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

"I would strongly advise anyone who doesn't know what they want to do to strongly consider the military," she said. She will be trained as a master at arms, which is the military's police.

Also present at the graduation was Judy Woodward from White Mountains Community College, who told students about the WorkReady NH program. Students 16 and over are eligible.

Graduates of this summers JAG program are:

Working on technology in the high school: Selena Carrasquillo and Abby Godin.

Working with parks and recreation: Tyler Begin, Kelsey L'Heureux, Christian Judson and Krista Lakin.

Working with Tri-Couny CAP: Abby Bates, Kaitlin Gagnon and Shantel Gallagher.

Working with AMC: Matt Costa, Sarah Coy, Tim Duchesnaye, Josh Haley, Mario Molina, Eric Hogan, Alan Laflamme, Chris Dalphonse, Derek Lapete, Hunter Coulombe, Bryant Godin and Ryan Riendeau.

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