FAIRFIELD TWP. —Some high-achieving Butler Tech high school graduates will be handed their diplomas later this month, but that’s only half of their success story.
The more than two dozen graduates of Butler Tech’s booming mechatronics program have also completed enough college credits to have already earned two-year associate degrees.
The prestigious combo of academic accreditation puts them miles ahead in their career pursuits, said officials at the Butler County career school.
Butler Tech senior Mason Shupp is one of 26 mechatronics graduates from the county-wide career school and he said the idea of earning an associate college degree along with his high school diploma “is definitely exciting.”
“I didn’t expect to earn a two-year college degree by the time I left Butler Tech,” said Shupp, whose feeder school is Fairfield High School.
“I thought I’d be in more of construction like work when I got here but then I saw this program and it (mechatronics) has surpassed what I thought I was going to learn.”
The mechatronics program is now in its fifth year at the Fairfield Twp.-based career school and graduates have gone on to a number of types of careers — including robotics, automation and manufacturing — or college studies.
The program is offered in partnership with Dayton’s Sinclair Community College, which also has a branch campus in Mason. An additional six students considered “High Credit Bearing Students” and need only one to two classes to complete their degree.
The mechatronics students earned a combined 1,091 credit hours for free through Sinclair.
The high school seniors have earned a two-year Sinclair associates degree through passing college credit classes offered by Butler Tech in electro-mechanical engineering technologies.
Mechatronics Instructor Dave Campbell said the program’s first year a half decade ago saw only five graduates but now that has grown to 26 this school year.
Part of the program’s popularity is that instruction is hands-on oriented and not traditional “sit and get” learning from textbooks and online lessons, said Campbell.
“We still apply those deep level concepts of math, science and technology, it’s more tactile and the more fun work that comes after the drudgery of work sheets. And it ties very closely what they can do for a career,” he said.
“It gives them purpose to better understand why we need to do trigonometry and why we need to do physics. It’s not just accomplishing the (classroom) work because somebody told us we have to. It’s an application of what they are learning.”
Shupp said he is definitely a “hands-on type of person and I don’t like to sit down and do work sheets. I hope to get a job as a technician somewhere, preferably in robotic tech or as an automation specialist.”
“I’m very grateful for the program.”