Grads head from Norwich Tech into working world, college

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., Jun. 20, 2011
Norwich Tech graduates Michelle Mather, from health technology, and Ben Mager, from carpentry. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
Norwich Tech graduates Michelle Mather, from health technology, and Ben Mager, from carpentry. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.

Two paths lead graduates out of Norwich Technical High School– the working trades and higher education. And 2011 grads Benjamin Mager and Michelle Mather are among this year’s leaders in each direction.

Carpentry shop head Brian Charron calls Mager, of Griswold, “one of the best students who ever walked through my door. He’s the first on the job and the last one off every day.”

Mager said he’s known the career path he’d take since seventh grade. “As a kid, I was always playing with a hammer and nails, off building forts in the woods,” he said.

At Norwich Tech, he’s worked on a far more ambitious scale, helping construct a 3,700-square-foot residential addition with his shop class. Much of the job required working 40 feet off the ground.

Is he good with heights? “I am now,” Mager deadpanned.

Mager, one of nine graduating carpentry students to take the apprentice test, already has a job lined up with Materas Construction in Voluntown. He’s already got all his tools, thanks to the achievement awards he received from local business sponsors.

Mather, of Norwich, a grad of Norwich Tech’s health technology program, is heading across town in August to Three Rivers Community College, to pursue a degree in nursing.

Already trained in Health Saver First Aid and CPR, Mather is certified as a nursing assistant. She’s also been active in community service while at Norwich Tech, working with Skills USA at the Rose City Senior Center and as a volunteer at Backus Hospital.

“Senior year we got to job-shadow at Backus,” Mather said. That sparked her plan to become a registered nurse.

“She’ll make an awesome nurse. She could definitely take care of me,” said health tech department head Lisa Elliot.

Mather had her arms full at the school’s awards ceremony, with a dozen citations, including an award from West End Medical Supply that included her first stethoscope. Luckily, the awards also included a tote bag embroidered with her name.

Both students were cited by their teachers as dependable shop leaders. “I can always count on her to get everyone on board,” Elliot said of Mather.

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