Sollers Point Tech teaches students skills for tomorrow
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:32

Local vocational school now at new campus

by Nicole Rodman

    The school bearing the Sollers Point name has changed a lot in its 65 years.
    First opened in 1948, the school was located in Turner Station before moving to its new Delvale Avenue campus this year.
    Established during the era of segregation, the school — then known as Sollers Point Junior and Senior High School — was originally intended to serve African-American students in Turner Station and surrounding communities.
    In 1966, as segregation was phased out, the school  — by then called Dundalk Regional Vocational Center — became the first vocational educational facility in Baltimore County.
    While the school’s name may have changed since 1966, Sollers Point has remained steadfast in its mission of offering vocational studies.

Today, Sollers Point serves approximately 700 students from schools in Dundalk and elsewhere in eastern Baltimore County.
    The school offers instruction in eight vocational programs. Students spend half of the school day at their home school and half at Sollers Point.
    Students taking courses at Sollers Point must complete at least four credits to graduate.
    Many of the programs also offer college credit through the Community College of Baltimore County.
    With the opening of the new Sollers Point building (on a dual campus with Dundalk High School), students this year are attending classes in a state-of-the-art building the length of three football fields.
    Among the programs offered at Sollers Point, the Culinary Arts program boasts the largest training facility at the school.
    Students in the program are divided up into the Restaurant Management and  Baking and Pastry pathways.
    The students hone their skills in the school’s 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art kitchen — the largest teaching kitchen in the state, according to Sollers Point principal Michael Weglein.
    Students gain real-world practice by catering events for community groups throughout the year.
    In just the last month, student chefs have catered events for groups such as the Optimist Club of Dundalk and the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.
    “We are completely booked solid through November, December and January,” Weglein noted.
    Students do all of the work involved, from creating a menu and pricing out the service to cooking the meal.
    Like their culinary counterparts, students in Sollers Point’s Salon and Spa Management program sharpen their skills by serving members of the public.
    In their courses, students learn such skills as cutting, styling and coloring hair, as well as doing manicures, pedicures, waxing and skin care treatments.
    The cosmetology center is designed to resemble a real-world salon, complete with a receptionist’s counter and all of the amenities needed to complete beauty treatments.
    Members of the public are welcome to make appointments with the student stylists.
    Haircuts are $10, while services such as coloring may cost $20 or more.
    Guests must be signed in by 11:30 a.m. to allow the students time to complete their work. Appointments are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
    For more information, contact the school at 410-887-7075.
    For Automotive Services students, they practice their craft in a brand-new state-of-the-art garage.
    The students work on cars often supplied by area car dealerships.
    Occasionally, students will also work on the cars of teachers and parents, though they do not work on cars belonging to the general public due to liability issues.
    Students practice such skills as working on fixing brakes, wheel alignment and changing oil.
    Elsewhere in the school, the Sollers Point Allied Health students train to become certified nursing assistants or pharmacy technicians.
    Students can train in rooms designed to look like medical facilities, complete with hospital beds and other medical equipment.
    The school even contains a mock pharmacy designed to help students learn how to properly dispense pharmaceuticals.
    In each program, students learn under the watchful eye of trained professionals such as certified pharmacy technician Nehal Ghadasara.
    “A lot of the folks that we hire on staff have professional credentials,” Weglein noted.
    Other programs offered at the school include Construction Management, Diesel Truck and Power Systems, Engineering Technician and Information Technology.
    While students can, typically, begin a program in their 10th-grade year, the school offers technical preparation programs for ninth graders preparing to enter a vocational program.
    Generally, students are admitted to programs based on completion of eligibility requirements.
    Prospective Sollers Point students must have completed the proper prerequisite courses and have a C average or better in English, mathematics, science and social studies courses at their home school.
    Students must also have a 94 percent or higher school attendance rate and pass a review process that includes assessment tests and an interview.
    For more information, visit