Gone are the days when students with limited interest in pursuing higher education comprised the majority of students in shop class, reports the GateHouse News Service: More and more, voc-ed programs seem to be attracting students who see technical studies as a building block to their future. While the programs still prepare hundreds of young men and women for careers in the trades, more and more are opting to continue their education after high school. Last year, 71 percent of the graduating class from the Vocational Technical Studies Program at Plymouth South High School in Massachusetts went on to attend a two- or four-year college or technical institute—and of the 750 students who are currently in the program, 503 are enrolled in honors or Advanced Placement courses on the academic side of their curriculum. Senior Ricky Duddy, who transferred into the Computer Aided Drafting/Design (CAD) program last year as a junior, is still unsure of where life will take him after he goes off to college next year. Duddy, an AP English and honors math and physics student, will attend the University of Tampa and is considering a career in architecture or real estate. Either way, he figures, the two years of CAD training he takes away from high school should give him an advantage. Guidance counselors had to modify Duddy’s schedule to fit the AP English class and two CAD classes into his day, but Duddy will leave Plymouth South with his freshman English requirement completed and the ability to design and build a scale model of a house…

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