Congratulations to Manchester High School JAG Students and Specialist Justine Meyer for a successful Initiation and Installation Ceremony last Friday!
Mayor Jay Moran, State Representative Mark Tweedie, Principal Jill Krieger and Keynote Speaker Ryan Parker were among the guests and family members who gathered to witness the swearing-in of elected Career Association officers and all members of the Career Association itself.
“At first I thought JAG would just help me get a job,” Career Association President Victoria Leon told the crowd. “But already Mrs. Meyer has taught us a lot of other life skills. She helps us sit down and think about where we want to go and what that takes.
“I have As and Bs now in all my other classes because of JAG,” she added. “It’s helping me stay on top of other things.”
Students worked hard to plan the event and decorate the venue. JAG student Cassandra (Cassy) Barrett also worked on her own to create and decorate a selection of cupcakes that added an elegant touch to the event!
Students also selected Ryan Parker for the keynote speaker, and the Illing Middle School teacher and poet shared his story of growing up next door to a crack house in Norwich.
“I didn’t want to be like that,” he said. “It made me determined to go to college and made me competitive to succeed.
“By committing to be part of JAG and this experience,” he continued. “you are taking the first steps to success. Remember who you want to be.”
The “hunger heroes” is what Kyara Vargas, senior at New Britain High School, said we should call ourselves here in the JAG Program. Throughout the month of September, the JAG Career Association members promoted a can drive for hunger action month. The students made posters, shared messages on the morning announcements and spread the word during passing time.
Originally, students wanted to donate the collection to a local homeless shelter for children and families. However, there was a change in the drop-off destination when the can drive was completed. In the early month of October, there was a tragic house fire that devastated three New Britain families, leaving them with an endless amount of loss of a loved one and a life’s worth of belongings. The JAG students wanted to help by donating the proceeds of the canned goods and the nonperishable food items to the victims. Over a five week span, the students and faculty members here at N.B.H.S. donated six large shopping bags of food items.
The collection of food items was brought to Chamberlain Elementary School where two of the house fire victims attended school. As a community, there were many items donated including, clothing, toys and food items. As the N.B.H.S. JAG Program our hearts were filled knowing that the contribution was going to those who needed it most at such a difficult time.
In the photo above are seniors Kevon Bradley, Catera Haughton and junior Samantha Kilduff.
State Rep. Mark Tweedie returned last week to his alma mater – Manchester High School, where he spoke with students in Justine Meyer’s JAG class about getting elected, being successful – and the difference between making tea and making teeth.
A 1974 graduate of MHS, Tweedie shared with students how his mother’s death when he was a freshman led to a lot of absences and a struggle to graduate.
But he also shared some advice that’s the essence of JAG: “Education is an important element in getting a job,” he said. “But it’s how you conduct yourself among people you work with, and for, that’s most important.”
He also asked students about their aspirations, talked about going door-to-door while running for office, and advised students about the importance of a high school diploma and good work habits.
“If your’re willing to work,” he said, “people will hire you.”
A humorous note came early on when Tweedie described how after high school, he got a job making teeth for his girlfriend’s father. This skill served him well when he went into the Navy, secured employment as a dental technician, and later when he opened his own business – Tweedie Dental Arts, still in operation, on Center St.
Students listened quietly for a time, until one asked about the technicalities of making tea – allowing Tweedie to make clear he was making TEETH – not tea.
Thanks to Rep. Tweedie for his time and interest in MHS JAG!