Many local students attend Oakland Schools Technical Campuses (OSTC) not just because they have an interest in a skilled trade, but because of the opportunities OSTC provides them.
Mikayla Specci’s recent success is a testament to that experience. A 17-year-old senior at Troy Athens High School, Specci is a student in the Construction cluster at OSTC-Southeast in Royal Oak. There, she spends her days learning about masonry, roofing and building dog houses.
“I love it all,” said Specci.
Late last year, Specci and others from her OSTC class attended a field trip at Eastern Market in Detroit at Sachse Construction’s annual Sachse Construction Academy, which provides high school students from all over Southeast Michigan with the opportunity to learn about careers in skilled trades from professionals in the industry. This year, 500 students attended and participated in modules highlighting construction, plumbing, masonry, restoration services and more.
It was announced at the field trip that the event sponsor, Shurtape, a leading manufacturer of pressure-sensitive tapes, was giving out a $2,500 scholarship to a student interested in attending trade school. Those looking to participate were asked to describe why they want to pursue a career in skilled trades.
Specci took on the challenge, writing about how her love for construction stems from her family, where several members are in the field. Specci said once she graduates, she plans to stay close to home and use the money for traveling to and from apprenticeships and trade school.
“I was doing drywall and mudding at a young age,” Specci explained, adding she also is involved in theater at school and enjoys building the set.
Despite her passion for construction, Specci was still shocked when she found out she won the scholarship – especially with so many other students in attendance at the event.
“I was very, very surprised. I’m really bad at competitions,” she said laughing. “I wrote about how I really want to further my education in trade school and work alongside people in the field.”
“Mikayla impressed us with her passion for spreading a positive message about careers in skilled trades and her desire to be a part of her family’s legacy of careers in these fields,” said Lisa Zierfuss, product manager for Building & Construction HVAC tapes at Shurtape.
Specci’s OSTC teacher Jeff Bowman said he was “really happy” for Specci, who he classified as a student who has a great deal of “awareness” how the construction trades operate.
“I can’t think of anyone who would deserve it more,” he said.
Sarah Davis is the communications specialist for Oakland Schools.