As spring approaches, thousands of coaches and athletes from around the country get ready for National Signing Day, a day where press conferences are scheduled, coaches’ phones ring off the hook, and star recruits ceremoniously sport the hats of their chosen colleges. For star athletes, it is the day they begin their trek toward what many hope will be professional athletic careers.
In our view, though, every student deserves a signing day. That’s why we started Academic Signing Day at Northeast Community College. We take the opportunity to highlight ‘academic’ scholars who pursue higher education in one of our career and technical education (CTE) programs as they work toward becoming ’professionals’ in their chosen career field.
For the last 3 years, Signing Day has grown to recognize 199 students pursuing 33 career and technical programs. Hundreds of family members and friends have attended to show support as the students start on their new academic journey. Encouragement for their decision in a CTE program comes from day one, and follows them even after their signing day. From the classroom to employment, these students make a marvelous impact by serving their communities in different capacities in the work force.
Shanelle Grudzinski is the associate dean of the applied technology division at Northeast Community College (NE) and assists in the coordination of fourteen career and technical education (CTE) programs that span manufacturing, construction, transportation, and the energy fields. Shanelle serves in the role as lead grant coordinator for local, statewide, and national grants for CTE programs. In addition, she conducts certification training, provides technical assistance, community collaboration, student recruitment, retention, and persistence, and new program development.