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Minuteman High School and Adult Students Work Essential Technical Jobs During COVID-19 Crisis

Minuteman High School and Adult Students Work Essential Technical Jobs During COVID-19 Crisis

Students Pursuing Career Technical Education Are In Demand


During the week of May 11-15, 2020, the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District will use social media to highlight high school and adult students who are working in-demand, essential trade jobs during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

With career majors such as Health Assisting, Biotechnology, Electrical, Engineering, and others, which are offered at Minuteman High School for grades 9-12 and Minuteman Technical Institute for adults, Minuteman students are finding their skills are strongly desired in these unprecedented times.

Minuteman will feature students working in essential jobs this week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #BeEssential.

“Even in periods of uncertainty, career technical education continues to be a rewarding, essential, and long-term option for high school and adult students alike,” said Edward A. Bouquillon, Superintendent-Director of Minuteman. “We are proud of all of our students who are using their skills to provide essential services in our communities.”

Andrew Stanley, Grade 9, of Arlington, Works in a Medical Lab

Andrew Stanley

Andrew Stanley and his father, Butch Stanley, work at the Mass Histology lab in Worcester.

Ninth-grade Biotechnology student Andrew Stanley, of Arlington, is following in his parent’s footsteps and working in a medical laboratory that performs human biopsies for the state Medical Examiner’s Office, along with animal biopsies for veterinarians. Stanley is working at Mass Histology in Worcester, where his father, Butch Stanley, is a director.

“This is helping me a lot,” Andrew Stanley, 16, said. “I wanted to go into biotechnology at Minuteman because I wanted good lab experience. In the future, I want to put myself through med school to become a doctor. This would definitely be experience I can learn from early on.”

Stanley works as an assistant helping the pathologists prepare the slides used to perform biopsies, along with other functions.

Lily Mela, grade 10, of Lexington, works in an Assisted Living Facility

Lily Mela

Lily Mela, a sophomore Health Assisting major from Lexington, began working part-time at the Brookhaven at Lexington assisted living facility in February, a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic began.

“I wanted to protect the elders. I wasn’t concerned for my safety,” she said. “I had to stop thinking about the dangers because it wasn’t worth it.”

Mela, 16, said she serves meals to the residents – none of whom can leave their quarters due to social distancing measures – and was provided one face mask to be re-used daily. She said some of the residents have dementia and leave their rooms because of memory issues.

After each shift, Mela returns home and immediately washes her clothes and takes a shower.

“There’s some small concern, but we’re not freaking out over it,” said her father, Robert Mela. “It’s useful, meaningful work.”

“It’s solidified my urge to work in healthcare, Lily Mela said. “It’s not something that’s meant for everyone, but it’s important work to do.”

Layla Lubin, grade 10, of Concord, Works in an Assisted Living Facility

Layla Lubin

Another sophomore Health Assisting major, Layla Lubin, 16, of Concord, is also a part-time employee at Brookhaven at Lexington. Her mother, Rebecca Hercule, also works there as a certified nurse’s assistant.

Lubin, who began working at Brookhaven last December, said it is difficult not being able to interact with residents. “It’s sad because you see the resident you love talking to… and you can’t say hi and you have to wave to them from a distance.”

She’s picked up additional hours since school closed. Like Mela, she works with the food service staff to ensure residents are receiving the proper meals, which must adhere to their unique requirements.

Both Lubin and her mother follow a strict regiment of hand washing and doing laundry as soon as they get home.

“When this all started… she said I want to help them and do whatever I can for the residents. It blew my mind,” Hercule said. “She always puts the residents first. I’m proud of her.”

Robbie Finnegan, Grade 12, of Needham, Works for a Home Solar Panel Company

Robbie Finnegan

Robbie Finnegan, a senior Electrical major from Needham, is performing maintenance work on home solar panels all over eastern Massachusetts. He was already working 35 hours a week and receiving course credit through his job at Solar Edge and Sun Power when the pandemic started.

“The physical distancing was difficult,” said Finnegan, 18. “You show up and you try to stay six feet away from people. Some people don’t want you in their homes.”

Finnegan has studied engineering at MIT Lincoln Lab, and is planning to attend the University of Massachusetts Lowell to pursue an engineering degree. At Minuteman, he was captain of the soccer and tennis teams, a member of the basketball team, and was a Student Ambassador in which he hosted school tours.

“This is one of the biggest pros of going to a trade school. It’s the real-life experience,” he said. “It’s not just a retail job on the side. You get the training, and they’re willing to train you for free.”

Mitchell Ma, 25, of Lexington, is an Adult Student Working With Electricians


Mitchell Ma

Mitchell Ma, 25, of Lexington, is working as an electrical apprentice with C.A.M. Electrical Service & HVAC in Bedford as he obtains work experience toward a Journeyman’s License. He is a student of Minuteman’s adult evening program, Minuteman Technical Institute.

“Everyone knows living without electricity is difficult,” Ma said. “One of our most recent jobs was completing a newly constructed kitchen. The lady who owned the home didn’t have any means of cooking… until we came to the rescue.”

“Our priority has been to stay as safe as possible while helping the community,” he said. “Coordinating with workers in other trades is a must to avoid working in close proximity with others.”

Minuteman Technical Institute is currently accepting registrations for the 2020-21 school year, which begins in August, at minutemanti.org. For more information about Minuteman High School, visit minuteman.org.