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National Defense University Visits BVT

Blackstone Valley Tech students and staff welcomed veterans and active-duty military officials from 55 countries and the United States, on Friday, September 20, when the International Fellows Class of 2020 from the National Defense University visited the school.

The National Defense University (NDU), based in Washington, D.C., provides graduate learning opportunities for international military leaders and their U.S. counterparts from all Military Services and the Interagency. The International Fellows are involved in a one-year intensive program focused on educating, inspiring, and developing national security leaders. As part of their studies, the group of 63 International Fellows visited Massachusetts to learn about education in the United States. "Our visit to BVT is one of the highest-rated visits and continues to be a cornerstone of our Boston practicum," said an NDU staff representative. The group received a first-hand look at BVT's best practices in vocational and academic education during the visit. Student representatives were on hand to demonstrate and discuss their school projects with them. The International Fellows participated in a question and answer session with students and administrators. The group was interested in the technical skills students were developing in their vocational classrooms. Students spoke about their experiences with career enrichment, co-op, and the importance of exploring career pathways. National Defense University Health and Fitness Director, Anthony Spinosa, said, "I was very impressed with the BVT Health Services students CPR demonstrations and the hands-on learning that occurs at BVT."

The International Fellows viewed a variety of vocational programs and school resources such as the school-based health center and the school's transition room. The Nurse's Suite and the concept of providing medical attention on-site to alleviate time out of school was a point of interest to this group. The comprehensive tour showcased the opportunities, challenges, and successes that students who choose to pursue a vocational-technical education and schools in the United States face.

The fellows were particularly interested in learning the ways students decide which vocational program to study during their high school years and their plans to continue pursuing their chosen fields. The fellows were amazed to see the numerous opportunities and amount of options that students have available to them. Several commented that they were impressed by the technical skills BVT students had learned now in high school, would allow them to work anywhere in the world.

It also allowed students to expand their horizons. "Speaking with the fellows from the National Defense University was a unique experience. They were an interesting and diverse group. I heard many accents that I hadn't heard before," said Leah Cook of Blackstone, a sophomore in Engineering & Robotics.

The recent visit marked the fourth consecutive year the National Defense University has toured Blackstone Valley Tech to showcase different styles of education in the United States.


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