The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Edison furthers interest with hands-on learning

Junior Angel Melgar examines axles and other car parts while participating in the Auto Collision and Repair program at Edison. “It’s helping me reach my goals of being a mechanic and working in shops,” Melgar said.

As students finish their lunch period at WJ each day, they make the dreaded walk back to the classroom for the start of fifth period. However, 20 Wildcats instead take a trip over to the Thomas Edison High School of Technology for CTE (Career and Technical Education). Here they take classes in which they are able to explore their interests with hands-on learning in subjects generally not covered in high school. Whenever there is a half-day, two-hour delay or unexpected schedule, administration is almost sure to announce instructions over the loudspeaker to students who attend the Thomas Edison High School of Technology for their afternoon classes. For most students at WJ who remain in the building for all seven periods, these announcements are about all the exposure they receive to the program at Edison. These students participate in 12 of the 17 programs offered at the school, many opportunities are unlocked that cannot be found anywhere else in the county.

Edison is a trade school located right next to Wheaton High School in Silver Spring. At Edison, students participate in programs ranging from cybersecurity to auto collision and repair to architecture and more. Many of the students in the program rave about the hands-on experience that the program provides as some of the teaching occurs directly in the program’s field of study, giving students a chance to be exposed to a career while still in high school.

“The hands-on experience Edison offers is actually working on what the subject requires, like Auto Collision & Repair’s hands-on experience is working on actual cars with tools and not staying in class reading a book,” junior Angel Melgar, who is in the Auto Collision and Repair program, said.

Additionally, there are many certifications that students earn from classes at Edison as well as SSL hours and credit for college. Students who earn a “B” or higher in Edison classes are in many cases eligible to earn credit at Montgomery College and some post-secondary trade schools. Most of the programs offer multiple certifications for students, broadening students’ career space after graduation.

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“It definitely helps because right out of high school, [I] would be a certified medical assistant or a nursing assistant,” junior Jhonatan Bonilla, who is in the Academy of Health Professionals program, said.

The programs range from lasting one to three years and require an application during one’s freshman, sophomore or junior year, depending on which program a student chooses to apply for. Since any student from Montgomery County has the opportunity to apply to Edison, students in the program are able to meet students from other schools.

“I would absolutely recommend the program because you meet a lot of new people who have similar interests. And you spend a lot of time with those people because you usually only have one hands-on class. It’s a lot of communication and trust that goes into the program and you learn something new every day,” senior Pierce Goodenow, who is in the Professional Restaurant Management Program, said.

Socially, there are benefits to being in the program as well as disadvantages. Students who attend Edison first take two to three classes at WJ before taking a bus over to Edison, right before the start of the regular lunch block at WJ.

“Although I’ve made many friends at Edison, I can’t sit down to eat lunch with my two best friends I have here at WJ,” Bonilla said.

WJ now has over 2,900 students and it is continuing to grow each year. Many students like the specialty programs because it allows them to be a big fish in a small pond.

“Some people feel like WJ is getting so big. [Edison is] a nice little closer-kit community that they can get to know better,” WJ teacher and unofficial Edison program liaison Vicki Goss said.

Some of the programs allow students to take shifts in a work environment while in high school. Since Edison is a trade school, one of the main focuses is to give students opportunities for placement in the workforce directly after high school.

“Edison definitely helps with job placement by having field trips to companies and by having competitions where companies look for students that show understanding and effort into their subject,” Melgar said.

The final round of applications for the Edison programs for next year was expected to open on March 16.

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Joshua Singer, Print Editor-in-Chief
Joshua Singer is a junior and is ecstatic to be a Print Editor-in-Chief in his second full year on The Pitch. In his free time, Josh enjoys running, playing guitar and announcing sports.
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