Power of the Plan: College and career ready

April 19, 2016

Power of the Plan: College and career ready

                         Santiago Chabrier is a Max Hayes graduate studying chemical engineering at Case.


At Max Hayes, students get hands-on preparation for life after high school

by Justin Glanville               photos by Julia Van Wagenen

This month’s stories feature voices of students at Max S. Hayes, a career and technical high school on Cleveland’s near west side.

In addition to learning technical skills, Max Hayes students make field visits to local manufacturers with the help of an in-school office of WIRE-Net, a nonprofit with the goal of maintaining and strengthening Cleveland’s manufacturing sector. Many students participate in half-day internships.

Max Hayes is one of five newly designated Academies of Cleveland -- career and technical high schools adopting new curricula to better meet the needs of today’s employers and colleges. Ensuring career and college readiness is one of the pillars of Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools. The school moved into a new building in the fall of 2015. The interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

Santiago Chabrier, 20, is a 2013 Max Hayes graduate now attending Case Western Reserve University on a full tuition scholarship. He’s majoring in chemical engineering and lives with his mother in the Cudell neighborhood.

Max Hayes was actually the closest high school to my house. That was a big reason I chose it. I studied precision machining because it involves a lot of math and that’s my thing.

Max Hayes is a technical school, so it’s not as focused as much as some on college. But college was always the thing in my family. My mom has her associate degree and my dad has his bachelor’s degree in Spanish. So I didn’t have the normal experience at Max Hayes. The first year I was there full-time, but starting my sophomore year I also took classes at Cleveland State University through the postsecondary program. My teachers told me I could use more of a challenge.

I always made sure I stayed in the machining classes, though. For one thing, they were unique. For another, working with my hands around kids my own age kept me grounded. I’ve heard stories where a 12-year-old went to college and graduated. I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to be well-rounded and connected to my age group.

At Case, I use the skills I learned at Max Hayes all the time. In one class, I was in a group that made a liquid nitrogen ice-cream machine. I built the whole thing from scratch working on a mill and a band saw. It felt so good to be able to do that. We won awards from the class that we were the most entertaining and out-of-the-box project.

A lot of engineers focus only on the abstract and they forget manufacturing processes. If I’m trying to make a device now, I’ll know if it’s realistic and practical to make.

I go back to Max Hayes a lot. The new building is pretty cool. This summer, I went back to teach manufacturing at a summer camp for incoming 9th graders. We had them build cars from blocks of wood.

It’s great to get to know the current students. One kid -- I could tell he really enjoyed what he was doing. I just asked about him the other day, and he’s on the honor roll. I think that’s great. He’s getting to go to a place where he’s learning skills that excite him. That’s why Max Hayes is so important.

Karla Diaz, 16, is a freshman at Max Hayes. Like all first-year students, she works with a counselor who helps guide her academic choices. She lives in Clark-Fulton with her mother, stepfather and three siblings.

My mom and dad got divorced when I was in first grade and that was really hard. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to school. I didn’t know how to explain what was wrong, and I ended up repeating first grade. That’s why I’m older than most freshmen.

I came to Max Hayes because I wanted to go to a hands-on school. I don’t like writing with pen and paper. I like seeing how everything works.

I haven’t decided on a pathway yet, but I’m a big photo addict. I discovered photography because my oldest brother’s ex-wife was really into photography. She’d take pictures of the fall leaves, or she’d set up different still-lifes. Max Hayes doesn’t have photography as a trade, but I think I could use it in a few of the different pathways.

Whenever I get a chance, I go outside and take pictures of the snow. Once the leaves fall off the trees, they’re naked. So when I see snow on the branches, it’s like they have something on again. It’s really beautiful.

It’s a great feeling inside me once I take that perfect picture and edit it. I feel like I have a lot of stuff lifted off my shoulders. All of my feelings, if I’m sad -- even family stuff.

My freshman counselor has one of my photos up on her wall. It’s a picture of a Ferris wheel at Cedar Point, and she says it’s her favorite picture. I talk to her about anything. It feels really good to have somebody who’s here to listen besides my parents at home.

I also joined the basketball team. It’ll look great on a college application, but more than that I’m a really athletic person and I like being part of a team. Basketball empties my mind, just like photography does.

Now that basketball season is over, I’m focusing more on my classes. I’ve been having some trouble with my grades, and I’m looking into getting some of the extra tutoring they have here.

The other day, I was on CMSD’s YouTube channel watching interviews with other Max Hayes students. It was making me proud to be here. I’m grateful that I’m here and I’m staying here. I think it’ll help me be a better student and a better person.

"He’s getting to go to a place where he’s learning skills that excite him. That’s why Max Hayes is so important." 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Santiago Chabrier