The Gleaner
Education

Open House at HAECC expands horizons for area youth

The staff and faculty at the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Centre (HAECC) held an open house on February 15, specifically for students attending Chateauguay Valley Regional High School as well as Howard S. Billings High School.

 

Two students look on as another student hold a wood box over a container with a teacher holding a blender.
Jeremy a student at HAECC in the SIS program shows the students how to recycle paper from used wrapping paper a sustainable process that encourages students to be more environmentally friendly PHOTO Julie Elder

 

Several teachers held fun, team-building activities to help immerse the visiting students into the HAECC experience, while providing them with necessary tools and information. Critical thinking skills were put to the test, and students were given wise advice to take with them as they decide which path best suits them as they move on from high school.

Teacher Cory Campbell established a comfortable setting for the students. “At HAECC, there is an opportunity for all different paths; it depends on what you want to do,” he said, suggesting the teachers are there to assist students along their “learning journey.”

 

Male teacher points at white board in class room with two students looking on.
Teacher Cory Campbell explains the egg drop challenge an experiment performed by students who attempt to create a device that can keep a raw chicken egg intact when dropped from a height PHOTO Julie Elder

 

The programs at HAECC range from completing your high school diploma, which includes core as well as option classes to obtain missing credits, to the Social Integration Studies (SIS) program, where students with intellectual, psychological, social, or physical difficulties and exceptionalities build life skills and learn independence. HAECC also offers trade programs, including horticulture and landscaping. The Work-Ready program is also offered, where students are paired with academic advisors to help prepare them for work experience in their chosen field of interest.

The possibilities are endless

“What is really special about the school is that everybody here on staff really cares – it’s our community. We all come from here. We care about our students’ success, and are very dedicated to them,” said Michael Werenchuk, who teaches in the SIS program. He suggests students can thrive in this environment because they are responsible for their own learning. HAECC offers small class sizes, individualized learning, and flexible schedules where students learn at their own pace.

Teacher stand in classroom with six students standing behind long desk with paper, wires.
HAECC teacher Michael Werenchuck discusses the practicality and benefits of computer recycling Students learn to recycle and reuse the computers get refurbished for students in need or the scrap parts are sold with proceeds going back into the program for various celebrations at the school PHOTO Julie Elder

 

Kathleen Hackett, a devoted teacher, explained that “HAECC is a comfortable environment where there is no judgement; if you’re willing to do the work, we are here to help you. We have helped a lot of people become successful.”

Following the open house activity, the staff at HAECC received positive feedback from visiting students, including Ezekiel and Ashton, who attend Howard S. Billings. The students noted they felt comfortable at the school and were interested in sharing their experience and learning more about the programs offered in Huntingdon.

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