Niagara Gazette

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July 1, 2013

HIGGS: Trott Vocational nears its end

Niagara Gazette — As promised last week, we head into the 1980s at Trott Vocational High School. But first I received a phone call about a former student. Marie Parkhill told me her husband Bennett Parkhill, who grew up around 10th and Niagara streets, graduated from Trott Vocational in 1956. He chose the electrical shop course during his Trott years and received the coveted instructor “George Thorn Award” upon graduation. This meant automatic acceptance into the apprenticeship program for the next five years with the IBEW Local 237. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). Upon successful completion and gaining journeyman status, a guaranteed position awaited him within the union ranks. Bennett was also well known for his prowess at “shot-put while he was on the track team at Trott. I admitted I knew next to nothing about this sport and thanks to Wikipedia and Mrs. Parkhill I now do.

On June 7, 1980, Victoria Ketch received a $300 scholarship named for Villo Vintes from the Kiwanis Club of north Niagara Falls. In December of that year a student was stabbed by another student, the culmination of an ongoing conflict between the two. Several area pastors met with the school board in a closed-door session to discuss racial tensions and issues. Most students were shocked and unaware of this incident stating that “This is a small school. People know each other here.” Another stated, “We’re one big happy family here.” Appropriate disciplinary actions were taken. The school board again rejected merging Trott with BOCES asking for further studies into the option of closing Trott and having two comprehensive schools.

Cosmetology students were entered in a Hairstyling Competition at Trott in 1982 with first place going to Susan Montagna, second place to Rhonda Bradberry and third place to Janet Miller. It was an annual event and other students volunteered as “customers.” And, Stephen Polniak retired as principal of Trott on April 24 after 11 years with much regret expressed among both faculty members and students.

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