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Stevenson MADE’s First Graduating Class
Stevenson MADE’s First Graduating Class
Posted on 05/31/2022
Stevenson MADE class of 2022 take picture together

Starting their high school career in 2018 as the first freshman class of Stevenson Manufacturing, Automation and Design Engineering (MADE), 78 seniors are now prepared to graduate from this Utica Community Schools specialty program with unique, newfound skills.  

“To be a part of this first graduating class is really amazing,” Stevenson MADE senior, Madisen Easterly, said. “It’s something that is very special that not many people get to have.”

As a four-year program housed within the walls of Stevenson High School, Stevenson MADE has fostered a community-centered culture of creativity, trust and support.

“Being the first graduating class is interesting because we sort of took a leap of faith,” MADE senior, Nolan Datema, said. “It was worth it nonetheless; it was a great high school experience.”

“It’s refreshing to have this family culture that MADE has fostered,” Stevenson MADE fabrication teacher, Jesse Siress, said. “This MADE academy is something special.”

“To have our first graduating class, they feel like my own kids, my babies,” Stevenson MADE Program Administrator, Alison Hildebrand, shared. “Everything they do is a first for them, and a first for us, too - it’s pretty cool.”

Since the program’s launch, what Hildebrand has come to be most proud of is the sense of continuous improvement that is stressed to the students which has subsequently been adopted by staff.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to be a part of this program and to see the growth of both our students and staff,” Hildebrand said. “Our staff form amazing relationships with students and are willing to take risks which then encourages our students to take risks, as well.”

“I am so impressed by this first graduating class of Stevenson MADE and the staff who have supported them along the way,” Utica Community Schools (UCS) Superintendent, Robert S. Monroe, said. “The path this group has paved for future MADE graduates is monumental and unwavering and I look forward to hearing of this groups’ achievements beyond UCS.”   

Many of the inaugural graduating class will be pursuing careers other than those highlighted through MADE, while others plan to study things in the manufacturing, automation and design engineering fields after graduation.

“Regardless of the direction they go with their studies and their career, I hope as the students move on that they can use the skills they learned here and they can look back and see that their experience was valuable,” Stevenson MADE academy coach, Mark LaCombe, said.

“These students will always be our first class and they will go down in history.”