EHHS’ dynamic winter programs

By Lauri Voter - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
Michelle Hacker, right, and health occupations teacher Cheryl Hence, demonstrate what a student in the medical program could learn. Photos by Lauri Voter.
Michelle Hacker, right, and health occupations teacher Cheryl Hence, demonstrate what a student in the medical program could learn. Photos by Lauri Voter.

East Hartford eighth and ninth grade students who are looking for an interesting way to spend February vacation this year, will have an opportunity to participate in a new program being offered at East Hartford High School.
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. In recognition, EHHS is offering two dynamic programs: “Hornet Engineers: Girls, Gears, and Goals,” which is open to girls only; and “Hornet Medical Camp: Focus on Your Future,” which is open to boys only.
The program was created by Michelle Hacker, department head of CTE. Hacker, who was a science teacher for 11 years prior to moving into administration, explained that the program was designed to generate interest of students in non-traditional fields.
“The goal is to increase the enrollment of girls in our engineering program, and boys in our allied health program,” said Hacker.
“We are a Project Lead The Way school []. They provide ideas for how to recruit and retain students. They suggested doing a reception for students. I read about a school that did a summer camp, and I thought it might be better to recruit kids by doing a vacation camp, rather than a summer camp,” explained Hacker.
The two groups will receive separate instruction, with each group hearing presentations from different speakers each day.
The engineering program will provide eighth and ninth grade girls with an overview of engineering, and its various fields.
The girls will have an opportunity to interact with female engineers and will participate in engineering-related activities. Guest speakers will include civil engineers and an environmental engineer. Students could learn about building a water filter system or a suspension bridge.
“I’m also working with someone at UTRC [United Technologies], to get some other engineers,” said Hacker, who is still working out some of the logistics.  
“The [high school] engineering program is going well. We are trying to increase our base to involve more girls,” said Hacker.
The medical program will introduce eighth and ninth grade boys to various areas of the medical field.
As part of the program, the boys will meet with men who work in the medical field. Former EHHS graduates will be the featured speakers.
“We are going to try to get a male nurse, potentially a physician’s assistant and potentially a surgical tech,” said Hacker.
“We have a model of an arm for phlebotomy,” said Hacker. “We want to get them excited about medical stuff and we’re hoping that some of the boys will register for the allied health class when they get to high school.”
Both groups will participate in an outing to Manchester Community College, where the engineering group will visit an engineering lab, and the medical group will visit a surgical tech lab.
The medical program will also offer an opportunity for its group to visit Hartford Hospital, where they will be taken on a tour of the hospital.
Each girl and boy will receive a book. “The girls will also get a Lego kit to build, and the boys are going to get a stethoscope,” said Hacker.
The February vacation programs are grant-funded and are being offered free-of-charge. There are no specific criteria for enrollment.
“Just interest,” said Hacker.
The programs are scheduled for Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 22 through 25, from 8 a.m. to noon, with food – both breakfast and lunch – provided.
Parents will have to make transportation arrangements. For more information, parents should contact Michelle Hacker by Feb. 15 at 860-622-5254 or e-mail

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