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Trades partnership celebrated

May 24, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Educators and business people on Monday celebrated a partnership that helps adults and teenagers learn trades.

It's been about two years since the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors moved its training program into the Barr Construction Institute on North Locust Street in Hagerstown.

On Monday, teachers, students and supporters gathered there to share praise and success stories.

Students Nick Hevener and Aaron Divel explained and demonstrated refrigeration and cooling to the lunch audience, which gathered in a tent for Partners in Education Appreciation Day.

Anthony Shumaker evoked laughter from the crowd when he said, "The only reason I came to Barr was to get out of going to Clear Spring High School during the day."

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But, as he learned more about heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Shumaker decided he liked it.

He credited his teachers.

"They pushed to do my best and to be a leader," he said.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said that's exactly what the school system likes to hear.

"We want to be sure that we have brought out all of the potential that you have to be whatever you want to be in the future," she said.

She said it's a mistake to draw a line between getting an education and learning a trade -- the demands of a global economy require strong reading, writing, thinking and problem solving.

The local Associated Builders and Contractors chapter began in 1958, said M. James Rock, a past chairman.

Jack E. Barr, the late father of Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr, was one of the founders. It is for Jack E. Barr and his family that the institute is named.

Rock said the program has more than 120 evening students and 40 daytime students, plus 27 part-time instructors.

Dozens of principals and teachers from several counties received certificates Monday for their commitment to the trade training program.

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