After being open for the past four years, North County Trade Tech High School is celebrating its first-ever senior graduating class.
“We are super proud of them. They’re very smart and highly prepared,” said Trade Tech principal Bryan O’Donnell.
Trade Tech, which first opened in 2008, offers students hands-on experience in the areas of construction, engineering, architecture and green building trades.
Its goal is to prepare high school students for college and the workforce.
Of the 20 seniors in the 2012 graduating class, 13 of them are going to a local college, five got hired as apprentices with local building trade companies and two of them are going into the military.
One example of a success story is 17-year-old senior Liusberl Raffi.
“Thanks to Trade Tech I got an internship. Now, I have a job and a scholarship,” he said of starting an apprenticeship this summer to become an electrician.
Raffi came to the United States from Cuba when he was 11-years-old and said he always found himself in trouble during his early teens.
“If it wasn’t for this school, I probably would be doing nothing and wouldn’t have a job,” said Raffi.
Principal O’Donnell marvels at Raffi’s background and how far he has come.
“When I asked him why he wanted to do the apprenticeship program, he said because he wanted to provide for his family,” O’Donnell said.
Currently, there are 120 students enrolled at Trade Tech, with 75-percent of those students coming from low-income families.
The senior class graduation will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the AVO Playhouse in Vista.