Groundbreaking ceremony represents important day for St. George, trade businesses

Thu, 03/28/2024 - 3:15pm

    ST GEORGE — At a groundbreaking ceremony in St. George, March 28, a local business CEO told a fourth grader, who would be visiting Steel-Pro later that day with his class, to pick up a job application while he was there.

    “I know it might be eight years [until you are old enough], but feel free to get that process underway,” said Steve Ladd.

    Gilbert was one of multiple students who described the projects they’ve been working on in the career and technology setting during a groundbreaking ceremony for a long-envisioned kindergarten to eighth grade (and beyond) Career and Technical Education/Makerspace, a first-of-its-kind program in the nation.

    “Why do I love tinkercad?” he said. “I get to create stuff. My goal this year has been to create and achieve. Tinkercad helps me learn how to organize shapes and designs, problem solve and persevere. I learn from my mistakes.”

    Ladd, representing one of the 33 business partners of the CTE space, said that it was apparent that today’s groundbreaking ceremony is an important day for the St. George community. And, it’s just as important for the region’s trade businesses.

    “We shouldn’t be waiting to meet for the first time when you are in 12th grade, at a job fair,” Steve Ladd, president and CEO of Steel-Pro, said to students in the audience. “That’s not when we should first meet and first explain who we are and what we do.”

    To the adults, he said: “I’m here to tell you that it is critical, and so important to our Midcoastal business community. Our contractors, our construction companies, our manufacturers are in serious need for young people that are passionate about the trades. Along with that, our manufacturers, our construction companies have serious need for young people who are creative, innovative, and confident.”

    Ladd said that the St. George CTE/Makerspace provides the atmosphere to ingrain those qualities in the young students, K-8. The business community’s future depends on it.

    As MSU Board member Kristin Falla said, community members remember home economics and chop class, located just down the hill from the current St. George Community School. Much of the effort to bring the new program to completion stems from, “a real strong desire to bring that back to our community,” she said.

    “It’s included in our roots,” said Falla. “We also were strong boatbuilders. We really made our waves, reaching to our past to find our future. And our future is rooted in our new technology as much as our old technology – 3-D printers and really fantastic technology.”

    To the further amusement of the adults who attended the indoor ceremony that preceded a quick, muddy, groundbreaking ceremony, Ladd told another story. His nephew, also a fourth grader, lives in Washington. Upon hearing Ladd’s descriptions of the Tinkercad and other projects that students in this coastal town are now a part of, the nephew asked his parents if he could transfer to St. George.

    Long before today’s ground breaking for the physical structure, students are already on the move, absorbing hands-on experience. They build toboggans, craft boats at the Apprenticeshop, visit Fisher Engineering, study marine biology at Herring Gut. To make this possible, Superintendent Mike Felton acknowledged Chris and Tracy Leavitt who have been working with students, alongside teachers and volunteers.

    The school also acknowledged the Bean family, who led instrumental efforts for the project’s completion. Linda passed away last week. However, her sister, Diana Bean, was able to attend the ceremony and help young students learn the art of ceremonial digging.


    Learn more about St. George’s CTE/Makerspace campaign here


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