After years of studying culinary arts, flashy 17-year-old Isaiah Ruffino sizzled banana fosters for guests attending the annual Mount Pleasant Area Technical Center’s Open House and Career Expo Thursday night.
The open house, which showcased the various areas of study offered by the Mount Pleasant Area Technical Center, was held at Mount Pleasant High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m. While many enrolled Technical Center students were present to offer school information to attendees, others, such as culinary enthusiast Ruffino, showed up to demonstrate their skills.
“The atmosphere at the Tech Center is great because things are always happening and people are always eager to do something,” Ruffino said. “Cooking has been my thing for years, but I think being able to work at the school restaurant will really prepare me for the future.”
Rosemary Carson has been the culinary instructor for the Technical Center for about four years.
She prides herself on working closely with her students and creating a bond in the process.
“I have a strong passion for culinary arts and I get to pass it on to the kids. I am so proud of them,” Carson said. “The Tech Center has so many things to offer to them to prepare them for the industry.”
While the culinary arts section gathered most of the buzz with homemade donut holes and chocolate cookies, bodies filled the other classrooms that featured a variety of different subjects including interior design, power mechanics and health occupations.
One of the new programs receiving buzz was mechatronics, which is a combination of design software, electronics, electricity, robotics, pneumatics and machining.
“This unique program gives students more of a stepping stone, which would put them ahead of others in their respective fields,” said mechatronics instructor Gary Shimunek.
Ellen Mozurkewich, 17, and her accounting team gave presentations throughout the night, providing audiences past accounting problems they have solved.
Mozurkewich, who recently committed to Central Michigan University, explained how the Technical Center has prepared her for college.
“I love the Tech Center and I am definitely very thankful for all that I have learned here and from my team,” Mozurkewich said. “I have already finished my accounting internship, and I am excited to experience Central.”
Digital Media instructor Pat Onstott stressed the importance of the Tech Center’s programs for future success.
“Our programs help prepare students for what’s coming ahead, and opens up real world opportunities,” Onstott said. “When kids leave here, I want them to be well rounded in the world of digital media and design.”
This year, the Technical Center partnered with the Central Michigan Manufacturers Association to put the open house together. In addition to students and professors from the Technical Center, many Gratiot and Isabella County employers were present to speak with attendees about future career opportunities within the manufacturing field.
Career Technical Education Director Diane Benford could not have been happier to see the students informing and entertaining guests, and hopes that attendees leave with a better understanding of the Technical Center.
“I really enjoy seeing the kids light up when they find interest in a career,” Benford said. “We do our best to promote technical programs to students so they can plan what they want to do for their future.”