by LUKE PUTVIN and MARIO LOTMORE
Sno-Isle TECH, located near Paine Field in Everett, provides training, certification and post-secondary credit to high school junior and senior students or anyone age 16 to 20 who have not earned a high school diploma or GED. Each student spends a half day at Sno-Isle and a half day at their school. At Sno-Isle TECH, each student receives state-of-the-art vocational instruction too expensive to offer at every high school.
From the skills center, students can continue with their education, go directly into work or both. Sno-Isle TECH is a cooperative effort of 14 local school districts – Arlington, Darrington, Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Skykomish, Snohomish, South Whidbey and Sultan.
Classes are broken into several categories. There is the Business, Marketing and Management category which contains classes like cosmetology and culinary arts as well as Human Services, Information Technology, Science & Health and Trade & Industry. Classes vary from Aerospace Manufacturing Technology to Animation.
Mia Hayslip is studying to become a story board artist in the animation industry. She enjoys baking pastries, writing fantasy and drawing environmental art. She aims to continue breaking the glass ceiling for women in the animation industry.
Hayslip fell in love with the facility during an eighth-grade tour. She decided to attend Sno-Isle, “Because it is the best place to pursue an animation career path in the area.” She added that because Sno-Isle is hyper-focused on vocational training, it works well with her ADHD.
Kelly, a student at Lynnwood High School, was enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. “I’m originally from Sandy, Utah, and I only moved here about a year and a half ago,” she said. Kelly learned about Sno-Isle TECH at a school assembly about a month after she started school at Lynnwood HS.
“I really enjoy hands-on learning,” Kelly said. She wants to be in the culinary field and has found cooking interesting since she was young.
“This is a different environment from a normal high school. Students are more interested, and everyone actually wants to be here,” Kelly said.
Gabriel, enrolled in the Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program, has been interested in planes ever since he was a kid.
“I live in the flight path of Paine Field,” Gabriel said, “so I’ve always thought airplanes were cool.” He encouraged students to attend Sno-Isle TECH if they enjoy hands-on work and feel very passionate about the field they choose.
Gabriel also spoke about how closely the program works with Boeing and how students are likely to be able to get a job at Boeing if they pass the program.
Fernanda was enrolled in the Translation and Interpretation program.
“My gut instinct was to take this class,” Fernanda said, “and my mom wants me to keep our native language alive.” Both of Fernanda’s parents are originally from Mexico; her mom was born in Mexico City, and her father was born in Cuernavaca.
Those who were in the class, Fernanda included, already had a firm grasp on the foreign language on which they were working. Instead, they were learning more complex vocabulary, things like medical and legal terms.
“Translating in the moment is something that requires a lot of practice,” said the instructor, Isabel Espino. Espino encourages her students to not only become certified but also obtain a business license to be independent contractors.
Fernanda really enjoyed doing work she felt passionate about. “It feels less stressful, and when I go back to my high school for classes, I feel happy and motivated to do all my other work.”
Fernanda hopes to come back to the skills center in the fall for the Dental Assisting program; she said she wants to be an orthodontist or dental hygienist in the future. Applications to Sno-Isle TECH open in February for entrance into fall classes. For more information about Sno-Isle TECH call 425-348-2220 or visit www.snoisletech.com.