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EVIT Alumni find career success
EVIT Alumni find career success
Posted on 02/17/2016
Landry Low


High school students at the East Valley Institute of Technology have a 96 percent graduation rate, and two out of three go on to college. Within one year of their career and technical education (CTE) at EVIT, 87 percent are in college, jobs or the military.

Behind each statistic are EVIT alumni, the living proof that quality CTE leads to success in college, career and life.

Landry Low, 22, an alumna of EVIT’s fashion design program and Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School, is now in New York with her own clothing collection and online shop. Low earned a bachelor of fine arts degree last year from Pratt Institute, an art school known for its rigor. Low excelled at Pratt, winning the $10,000 Young Woman Design Award from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at the Pratt Senior Fashion Show.

“There is simply no way I would have been as successful as I was without EVIT,” she said. “It wasn’t just about the skills I learned or the experience I gained, but it also had to do with stamina. A typical high school education just simply doesn’t prepare you for the reality of work ... EVIT helped me become accustomed to this reality and practice this before plunging into the 24/7 type of education that art school provides.”

EVIT students spend a half-day at their home high school in academic subjects and the other half at EVIT, where they are immersed in two to four hours of hands-on career training. Many programs also include internships with Valley business and industry. That experience often leads to jobs that help EVIT students pay for college.

During her senior year in EVIT’s Veterinary Assistant program and Gilbert’s Highland High School, Megan Farris, 23, got her first job at a vet clinic. She then worked as a kennel tech at Pet Haven Animal Hospital for two years while attending Mesa Community College and earning an associate degree in applied biological sciences. Then while majoring in microbiology at Arizona State University, Farris worked as a vet tech at East Mesa Animal Hospital. Farris graduated from ASU in December and is now in vet school at the Ross University of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts.

After graduating from Mesa’s Red Mountain High School and completing EVIT’s Nursing Assistant program, Danielle Panessa, 23, passed the state’s Certified Nursing Assistant exam and then worked as a CNA for three years at Sunrise Assistant Living. This year, she will complete nursing classes through Maricopa Community Colleges and graduate from Upper Iowa University with a bachelor’s degree.

Five years after graduating from Highland High and completing EVIT’s Culinary Arts program, Gabriel Garfio, 22, is part owner and executive chef of Sunnyside Breakfast Lounge, a popular restaurant with Mesa locals and winter visitors. Garfio went from EVIT Culinary to Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colo., in 2011.
“EVIT was a huge stepping stone in my path to success, and without the two years I spent there, I might have not gotten into the university that I aimed to get into,” he said. “The skills I learned at EVIT are priceless.”

EVIT offers 40 advanced CTE programs tuition-free for high school students and tuition-based for adults. Enroll: www.evit.com.

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It is the policy of the East Valley Institute of Technology District #401 to provide all persons with equal employment and education opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, marital status, age or disability. District grievance procedures will be followed for compliance with Title IX and Section 504 requirements. The compliance officer is the EVIT Superintendent.