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RCC’s MT program has 100 percent success rate

Even in the current tough economic times, useful skills are always in demand. A dual-enrollment program in the marine trades, offered to area high school students by Rappahannock Community College at both campuses (classroom space generously provided in Warsaw by the Northern Neck Technical Center), has just completed its third year on a high note. Every one of the eight students who graduated from the program in June 2009 has passed the American Boat and Yacht Council national post-secondary exam in marine trades.

Three of these students have already found employment. Eric Bishop of Westmoreland County is an independent contractor in Florida; Jason King, also of Westmoreland, has joined his family’s business of restoring boats and automobiles; and Zach Sapp of Lancaster is working at Regent Point Marina in Topping.

Three have opted for additional schooling: Laine Alles of Westmoreland will continue his participation in the program as an independent-study student learning marine trades service management, and plans next to study marine engineering at a four-year college; and Emory Haynie and Sebastian Harding of Northumberland will enter the marine trades program at WyoTech in Daytona Beach.

Of the remaining two, Sam Kilman of Richmond County is about to set off on his two-year Mormon mission trip, after which he plans to return here and enter the marine trades field; and Robbie Belfield, also of Richmond County, is considering military service.

Seven students have completed the first year of the two-year course, and with the exception of one who has moved out of the state, all of them are returning for the second year. Two have already gained employment in the marine trades: Tyler Dufour of Essex works for Garrett’s Marina, and Wade Hudson of Richmond County is a waterman who owns and operates his own seafood business.

Also, Chelsea Stewart of Essex County has been accepted to study at the Marine Mechanical Institute in Florida when she graduates from the RCC program.

“The accomplishments of these students,” said course instructor Rusty Bragg, “are a testimony to their personal drive to succeed.”

posted 09.28.2009

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