VISTA — For the past several years now, students that might not otherwise be interested in taking the traditional approach to high school have had the opportunity to continue their education and explore industries that could give them the best chance at a successful future.
This year, the 180 students attending North County Trade Tech High School are again taking the opportunity to follow the educational path that works best for them.
“We saw a need to provide an alternative learning environment, one that focused on preparing youth for college, but also developing skills,” said Doreen Quinn, CEO and founder of the school.
On Monday, the school received a check for $100,000 from H.G. Fenton Company, one of the school’s partners and contributors since 2008.
“We’re so happy with what we’re seeing here,” Kari Prevost, H.G. Fenton’s executive vice president said.
“The academy really is the future of education for our youth, especially for the industry that we are in, which is real estate and development,” said Prevost.
Much of the school’s money is gained through donations and fundraising efforts. The funds given by Fenton will help pay for a teacher’s salary and supplies, among other things.
The campus, situated in a business park off of Melrose Drive, offers more of a corporate-like feeling with open space schemes that can be reconfigured as they need the space.
Boasting a 100 percent graduation rate, Quinn said that being a fully accredited high school, students are able to go on to attend universities once graduated.
The students Prevost has seen emerge from the school she described as creative thinkers and hard working, which she added aligned with the principles that Fenton abides by such as being customer-oriented and more environmentally responsible when it comes to development projects.
With open space at a premium concern for most residents in the North County, Prevost said that Fenton likes to take a different approach when it comes to development. “If you look at open space, there isn’t a lot of open space. But what are the opportunities for the areas that could use some new revitalization, some new concepts? A different approach to the building that’s been there for a long time that might not be energy efficient,” she said. “We think there’s still a lot of opportunities in San Diego to help revitalize and redevelop certain areas.”
And as new projects emerge, that’s when they’re going to need help. For the past three years, H.G. Fenton has been offering internships to Trade Tech’s students.
Travis Hamlin, a senior at the school took part in one of those internships this summer. He finished the internship having met a lot of great people, he said, and with the hopes that on graduating, he’ll be hired on with the company.
So far, H.G. Fenton has hosted five interns, hiring one to join the company.
Hamlin, who came to the school during his sophomore year, said he was drawn to the fields of construction and engineering. He said that he wouldn’t really get to participate fully in those fields if he’d gone to a traditional high school.
Ultimately, he added, his dream job is to be working somewhere high up at H.G. Fenton.
“Seeing this kind of additional opportunity and training opportunities for young people is a boon to Vista and a boon to the region,” said Vista Councilman Dave Cowles, a former educator.
Deputy Mayor John Aguilera agreed, adding that of all of the different changes that have happened over the last few decades in education, which has cut out some of the opportunities for students, Aguilera said Trade Tech now offers for the children in the community.
“Some kids that don’t desire or need to go to four-year education, this is a great opportunity for them to get that alternate education that’s going to make them successful in the community,” he said.