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After hearing encouragement Tuesday to pursue their dreams and to live honorably, more than 150 Bristol Technical Education Center seniors set out to pursue the next stage of their their lives.
Some will head to college and others will choose the military, but historically a large percentage of Bristol Technical’s students begin careers in the vocations they’ve been studying.
Whichever route they take, it’s important that they make it count, student council Vice President Corey Wilson told his classmates at the school’s annual certificate ceremony.
“Go out into the world and make your mark,” Wilson said.
Students from dozens of central and northwestern Connecticut towns attended Bristol Technical part-time in their high school years to learn trades from welding to car repair. They receive their diplomas from their home high schools, and certificates of specialized studies in one of Bristol Technical’s six concentrations.
Keynote speaker Ken Crowley, founder of the Crowley Auto Group car dealerships, offered the students some techniques for success.
“Never do anything to violate the laws of God, man or nature. I tell my employees ‘You must take care of your customers – they pay the bills,’ ” Crowley said at the ceremony at the Bristol Boys & Girls Club downtown.
“When you get your chance – and you will – have the courage to go for it,” Crowley said. “You can’t always control when your best opportunities come up, but you can be ready when they do.”
Crowley said the opportunities in automotive technology careers are enormous, and said his companies employ technicians who earn more than $100,000 a year. He advised students to keep learning, saying education is a solid investment.
“Knowledge is something you’ll always have with you. Nobody can take that away from you,” Crowley said.
Luz Manson, the school’s administrator, said Crowley was selected to speak because of his long-standing support for the school and his business success. He has served on Bristol Technical’s advisory board, donated vehicles for automotive repair classes and has advocated for the technical curriculum at the state and local levels, she said.
Manson said the 2017 class is one of the largest in the school’s history.
“You will be sincerely missed,” she told the students. “You will always be a part of Team Bristol Tech.”
Students received certificates in either automotive technology, culinary arts, electronics, welding and metal fabrication, precision machining or heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration.