Admission season at Ellis Technical High School

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Jan. 21, 2013
Dr. Brian Mignault is flanked EmilyAnn Rudzinski and Merita Ferraj. Photos by D. Coffey.
Dr. Brian Mignault is flanked EmilyAnn Rudzinski and Merita Ferraj. Photos by D. Coffey.

It's the tail end of admission season at Harvard H. Ellis Technical High School. Recruitment teams of students and guidance counselors recently finished visits to area middle schools. It's an annual event for Ellis Tech, but this year the recruitment teams had a few more embellishments to add to their presentations. Besides talking about academic programs, vocational training opportunities and real world experiences available at the school, team members could brag about construction updates. An $84 million renovation project is years away from completion, but it promises to give students access to state-of-the-art facilities by the time it is finished.

Senior Merita Ferraj was one of the student representatives to go on recruitment visits. She admits that fall was a confusing time at Ellis Tech because of the ongoing construction. Sections of the old Ellis Tech were torn down, or off limits. Classes were moved to modules that had been brought onto campus. Modules housed the main office and business office as well. Traffic patterns were changed to accommodate heavy equipment as well as cars and buses. Parking lots were changed. “We needed a map to get around,” Ferraj said. “Now we're used to it.” Ferraj will graduate before all the phases of the construction are finished. Even so, she believes that the decision she made four years ago to attend the vocational school was a smart one. The education she's received at Ellis has been rigorous and practical, and that outweighs all the other factors, she said.

Ferraj has reaped the benefit of updates to the hairdressing/barbering shop that she belongs to. The shop is bigger and has more sinks for the students in the program. It's provided a cleaner, nicer setting for Elle Salon, an in-house salon providing haircuts, styling, chemical services, facial treatments and more to the community. But Ferraj admits she didn't want to attend Ellis Tech originally.
“My mom thought I had talent for hairdressing, that I was creative,” she said, “but I didn't want to miss my friends. It took me the whole summer to realize going to Ellis would be a good idea. I'm so happy I realized it. I wouldn't trade this for an education at a regular high school.”

Principal Dr. Brian Mignault said construction of a culinary arts shop and an expansion of the architectural technology shop is on pace to be finished by the fall. “We'll obviously need teachers for those areas,” said Mignault. “We're trying to get more positions approved by the state.”

Director of Counseling and Admissions Martha Rainy called it an exciting year. “Not only do we have an $84 million renovation going on, but we have culinary arts coming in for the first time next year,” she said. “That will make the 11th shop at the school.” Currently students can choose from architectural technology, automotive collision repair and refinishing, automotive technology, carpentry, electrical, electronics technology, hairdressing and barbering, masonry, plumbing and heating and manufacturing technology.

“Enrollment projections for next fall haven't changed because at this point because we won't have all our space available to us,” said Mignault. Ellis Tech can accommodate 684 students currently. That number will increase to 792 once culinary arts and a two-person architectural technology shop come on-line.

Rainy urged any eighth grade student who wants to apply to the school to get his or her application in as soon as possible.

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