Franklin Countys First News

Totally Trades: ‘Just prove them wrong.’

Sadie Knight (right) teaches a female student at Mt. Blue how to change and balance a tire during the school's second annual Totally Trades.

FARMINGTON - Mt. Blue Campus played host to the second annual Totally Trades conference Thursday morning- a long time program run by New Ventures Maine. The event took place during the first half of the school day, followed by a Career Expo during the second half.

For girls interested in pursuing a trades career the scene can often be male dominated and intimidating, which is what brought mechanics, fire fighters, foresters and others to the shops and classrooms of MBC to send the message that girls can, and should, do it too.

"We want them to know that gender isn't an issue. It's about interacting with role models in the field, learning about themselves and seeing what they like or don't like," Director of New Ventures Janet Smith said.

Groups of female students attended a number of workshops throughout the morning, learning things like how to lay a brick wall, build a toolbox or change and balance a tire.

"When I was a student at Foster Tech I was the only girl in automotives with 11 boys. At Eastern Maine Community College I am the only girl with 23 boys. I have had to work a lot harder to prove myself," 2016 Foster Tech and Mt. Blue graduate Sadie Knight said.

Knight was invited to come back to her old stomping grounds, this time as a presenter at Totally Trades. As a female in a primarily male workforce, Knight said she had to work twice as hard to gain respect from her peers- not an easy thing to do while simultaneously replacing an alternator.

"My teacher at Foster Tech, Scott, was amazing. He pushed me to do better. He knew how much I could do. He always told me to not let the boys put me down and to just prove them wrong," Knight said.

Knight instructed the girls on how to change and balance a tire, pushing them to do it the same way her mentor did for her. Growing up in a family of mechanics, Knight said she spent most of her childhood in the garage with her grandpa. When he commented on her inability to do something one day, Knight picked up the ratchet and did it.

"I ended up loving it," she said. "Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I can't do it."

In addition to pursuing a lifelong career in automotives, Knight is advocating for other girls to do the same. After graduating from Mt. Blue, she started a scholarship for female students going into the trades. She calls it the "Just as good but prettier" scholarship, a $100 award that is meant to help fill a girl's toolbox. This is the second year that Knight will offer the scholarship.

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1 Responses »

  1. This is fantastic! Increasingly more girls and women are getting to experience the joy of accomplishment and power that comes from doing hand-on /mechanical work. Congratulations Sadie and thank you for coming back to Mt. Blue and inspiring others.

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