The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

GCC holds annual College Day


September 24, 2021

Charity Smith/Daily Globe

LANDON NASI, 16, a student at the Luther L. Wright School in Ironwood uses the virtual welding trainer, as Gogebic Community College welding student Matthew Rowe looks on. The virtual welding trainer is a welding simulating device that is a cross between welding and a video game according to Gary Gouin, GCC welding instructor. "It's pretty fun," said Nasi.


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Ironwood - Gogebic Community College held its annual College Day on Tuesday afternoon. The event provided an opportunity for high school students to learn about college and military opportunities available after they complete high school.

Kim Zeckovich, GCC director of admissions, marketing and community relations, said representatives from nearly three dozen colleges and the military were available to answer student questions about programs, costs, admission requirements, financial aid, housing, athletics/activities, student services, etc, as they explore their options.

"The event overall went very well," said Zeckovich. "The students were very respectful and wore masks as requested by GCC and engaged with the college representatives."

More than 350 high school students were bused in to attend the event from school districts throughout Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, as well as students from Iron County, Wisconsin. This included students from Ironwood, Bessemer, Wakefield-Marenisco, Ewen-Trout Creek, Watersmeet, Ontonagon and Hurley school districts. The students were able to mingle with representatives from 35 colleges, as well as military representatives, to discuss their options.

"This is a really good chance for people to learn about the colleges and all the programs that they can learn about before they go to college," said Noah Wright, 18, of Wakefield, and a senior Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood. "This is a really good chance for them to start thinking about college and which one they want if they are going to go to one here or not."

Brodie Elsworth, 16, of Ironwood, said she liked that there were schools that are far away as well as close by. She said she plans to move to Houghton and is interested in Finlandia University. She said she was happy they had representatives there so she could learn more about the school.

"I thought it was a really good experience," said Aly Kukowski, a senior at Hurley. "My dad was telling me that you should start exploring more colleges. At first, I just came here knowing of maybe two or three of them, and then, once I started to go to each table and figure out what exactly they had and what type of programs, I really started to learn more and it really opened my eyes on a lot of different colleges that I didn't even know about."

Several of GCC's vocational programs had tables. Students were able to interact with representatives from the cosmetology academy, as well as the welding and nursing programs.

Gary Gouin, director of the welding program had a virtual welding trainer set up during the event for kids to use. Many students gathered there as they wanted to try their hand at the simulator.

"It simulates an actual weld that's being done," said Gouin. "It is safer, because you don't have the heat and the smoke from the welding and also it is a little bit cheaper because you are not going through the materials and the consumables and everything else. It's just kind of like a gateway or a high-tech approach to doing some basic weld training. Really, what it is is a combination of welding and a video game."

GCC students Kerry Whitburn, 19, of Wakefield, and Matthew Rowe, 20, of Ironwood, were also on hand to tell students what they liked about the welding program.

The event is part of the Michigan College Fair circuit and has been held at GCC for more than 30 years, Zecovich said.

"We were so glad that we could hold this event in person as it's important for our area students to have this opportunity to explore their future options," she said.


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