While some in society still view Career and Technical Education with skepticism, students are using it as a springboard for success, including Salem High School Senior Amanda Maille who has punched her ticket to Harvard. She is also class Valedictorian and will make her speech at graduation on Friday, June 9, although she deflects any praise for her accomplishment.

“If anything, there are so many people who deserve it, too,” she said. “There are different qualities about people. Sometimes, grades aren’t the best representation for what people can do. There are so many people who deserve it, too. There are a lot of people who will do amazing things. They will do amazing things in their lives…Hopefully in my speech, I represent the class enough.”

As for her experience at the Salem High School Career & Technical Education Center where she went completed two years in Health Science Technology, she said it helped her discover not only something she loves, but her future career.

“I started thinking about the health sciences and sciences in 7th grade, but I was unsure what to do as a career,” she said. “I was super stressed out about finding a career.”

Upon enrolling in the two-year Health Science Technology program beginning in her junior year, she said she began “a lot of career exploration.” Noting her first year covered medicine, anatomy and physiology among other thing in order to provide her with a base of knowledge, she said the past few months have been key for her. During this past semester, she said she was able to choose between three career paths—LNA, occupational or physical therapy, or EMT—and she chose the latter.

“You go to the Salem Fire Department every morning for class and you do clinical hours on the ambulance,” she said. “I was actually able to respond to calls with firefighters.”

Maille cited this past weekend as her most intense experience yet.

“We had a call and I was ventilating in the ambulance on someone—it was an incredible experience,” she said.

In looking ahead to her long-term future, she said she plans to become an emergency medical physician. Regarding her immediate future at Harvard, she said her major is Human Development and Regenerative Biology.

“I wanted something with life sciences and chemistry built into it with a lot of research, too—I enjoy research,” she said. “I’ll be doing research on a pre-med track.”

She also plans to be involved in the community while in college with the Volunteer EMS Services.

“I want to be involved in community service organizations—it will be a great experience,” she added.

Acknowledging the scope of her ambition is large and that the path to her dreams once seemed “daunting” when she was younger, Maille said CTE helped provide her with much-needed knowledge and inspiration.

“CTE is so much more than people think,” she said. “It gets you so involved in a career. It shows you what happens on a daily basis in the real world.”
For students or others still skeptical about CTE’s impact and value, Maille cited her own experience and that of other students.

“It helps you decide if you want to do this for rest of your life,” she explained. “I don’t know if I would choose this field if I did not have this experience. There is business, construction and other programs—everyone loves it.”

About the Salem High School Career & Technical Education Center
The Salem High School Career & Technical Education Center offers 13 Career and Technical Education Programs that lead to industry certifications, college credit, post-secondary placement, and employment. The emphasis of its programs is on both college and career readiness. Students learn technical and work-ready skills while integrating core academics. Many of the programs provide internship opportunities and project-based learning.

To learn more, visit www.salemcte.com.