Some students learn a trade to avoid college debt

25-percent jump in freshman class

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – When school begins Thursday at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, the freshman class will be 25 percent larger than last years’.

Pathfinder senior Nicholas Qualkenbush said many students are wary of college debt. “Well actually that was one of the reasons I didn’t want to go to college because student debt you know.”

Dave Oliveira shares his son’s enthusiasm for entering pathfinder, to learn how to earn a living in heating and air conditioning. “He’s excited, he wakes up in the morning, first day of school, I can’t wait, I haven’t seen him that excited in a really long time.”

Anthony Bishop’s culinary arts class will be filled with food preparation students on the first day of school. “You’ve got a lot of world class chefs coming into the casinos. I think it’ll make a big different with the kids as far as getting really great experience.”

Machine shop enrollment is up substantially. School administrators credit Governor Deval Patricks’s recent prediction of 100,000 new manufacturing jobs created in Massachusetts in the next ten years.

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