As a retired faculty member from Southern Maine Vocational Institute, which became Southern Maine Technical College and then Southern Maine Community College, I profess to be a very strong advocate of vocational/technical education.

In the evolution of our institution, however, it became very clear to trades, technical, health science and academic faculty that the academics of English, social science, arts, humanities and mathematics were an essential part of a student’s ability to go beyond just swinging a hammer or welding a joint.

Going through the college-level curriculum in these subject areas in addition to the trades, technical and health science curriculum teaches students to think critically and become more productive members of our society.

They graduate with the ability to be leaders in their fields, not just laborers. I believe companies like Cianbro and Bath Iron Works add to what is provided in the classroom, but teachers are not, as the governor said, “a dime a dozen.”

Joyce Leslie

Peaks Island