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In our alumni spotlight series, learn about our graduates and how GNB Voc-Tech impacted their professional and personal lives.  What did our alumni do directly after high school, what are they currently doing, and what skills did they gain here that shaped who they are today?
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GNB Voc-Tech Artisan Spotlight ...

Kate Collis

alumni Kate Collis Portrait Picture with camera behind stage

Design Visual Communications:

Media Technology

class of 2019

alumni Kate Collis taking a photograph in Fairhaven Library

Kate Collis

Multimedia Specialist

The Shepherd Center for the Performing Arts


I have always loved learning – it’s an unlimited skill we all possess to grow as human beings. I find immense joy in putting my knowledge to use and being able to think and create things that I am proud of. That’s really what life is all about! I fully believe that the amount of work and heart that you put into something is what you will receive back; I learned that throughout my years at GNB Voc-Tech. No matter what I’ve been through in my life, mentally or physically, I never accepted letting myself down. I believe in my strengths and talents, and I would never let the passion I have for them disappear.

alumni Kate Collis taking a photograph in Fairhaven Library
alumni spotlioght kate collis with camera and having a big smile and wearing a purple jacket with a flower

Kate's Story

Q: Why did you choose Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech as your high school?

A: I selected GNB Voc-Tech as my high school for its trade options, diversity and its architecture was unbelievably beautiful inside! I was looking forward to a change in scenery, classes, and new peers as I
had been going to Dartmouth public schools since kindergarten. I liked the idea of the split between shop and academics classes – I thought it could give me a chance to catch my breath between cycles and time to refocus during the switch-off. I knew that Voc-Tech offered many trade choices, with multiple ones being art related. I had my heart set on Media Technology from the start. I remember reading through the shop pamphlets and being like “That’s the one! It couldn’t be more perfect for me.” (and it was!) I was still so excited to go through Exploratory and experience trades I’d never considered before, and I genuinely surprised myself at how much I enjoyed contrasting trades from my interest in media work to such experiences as welding in Metal Fabrication and wiring in Engineering! I have even used some of those Exploratory skills throughout different points in my life and wouldn’t have traded that knowledge for anything.

Q: Describe your overall GNB Voc-Tech Experience.  (Did you participate in any extracurricular activities or go on a placement/​co-op while in school?)

A: I participated in GNBVT’s after-school music club. I met so many wonderful people there (including my current boyfriend of 7 years now) who had varying interests and talents, but we all shared a devotion to music. I sang and played piano and guitar, but never dared to perform in front of anyone, but these people gave me that courage. I will never forget the time I played and sang Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” accompanied by harmonies, piano, and drums – it was so surreal for me to play alongside others like that! Listening back to the recording I took that day still fills my heart with so much joy. We also performed as the house band at one of our talent shows and called ourselves “The Shrubbery” as a reference to Jimmy Fallon’s house band “The Roots”…We thought we were so funny! I enjoyed doing after-school media volunteer work as well, whether that was taking photos for sports events or attending rehearsals and filming Mr. Voc-Tech. It was especially cool to be behind the scenes, working film from the lighting booth in the auditorium. I had a blast doing that alongside my friends and have lots of funny memories with the entire Mr. Voc-Tech crew.

Q: How did GNB Voc-Tech have impact on your life?

A: The family that we built in Media Technology was inseparable. Every one of our shop teachers quickly became our moms and dads away from home. They were extremely passionate about what they were teaching us, always pushed us to strive for more, laughed with us, and most of all, supported us unconditionally throughout our four years. The bond between my classmates and I became so close through the work we did together, the times we wanted to give up on that work, and all of our after-school hangouts. I never really had a friend group like that: we laughed, cried, listened, and we sure as heck knew how to talk! I have countless memories with all of them, from planning Secret Santas, big sleepovers, or just spending time together. Every club and activity I participated in, every teacher I had in academics and shop, and every friend that I gained on my Voc-Tech journey shaped me into the person I am today and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Kate's Advice

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To Future Bears

Although high school feels like a big step, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. You will meet so many new faces and experience so many new things, especially in your shop cycles – let yourself be excited!! GNB Voc-Tech always provided a safe space for everyone. I am an extremely anxious person and honestly struggled to go to school in the mornings – but once I walked into those doors, I learned there were always people around to help me through anything.

To Current Students

I know it’s lame to say, but these will be some of the most memorable years of your life and you will miss them shortly after your four years have ended. That feeling has been kicking me extra hard recently. Hold on to the time you have with your friends and your teachers. Soak up all the knowledge you are handed and turn that into goals and experiences. Don’t be afraid to get involved with anything or everything, whether that’s through shop, academics, or clubs. Even if you aren’t sure of your future career or endeavors, don’t bog yourself down with that – find your current interests, put your all into them, and then see where they might lead you!

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To Graduates

Don’t be afraid of this next chapter. I got so worried about having to skip out on college or certain jobs and thought I would be so “behind,” but there is no correct way to live your life or time frame of success. Never push yourself into things you aren’t ready for and always put your health and well-being first. My definition of success is finding your own passions, winning your own feats, and becoming someone you, yourself, are proud of. You can be handed the worst cards and come out on top. If you just make sure to find and prioritize your own goals, big or small, things will fall into place. Also, don’t be afraid to lose your friends. The ones meant to stay will stay – even if this whole “adulting” thing makes your time away from each other be a little more often than you’d hoped. You will learn that there is a whole world out there of new folks to meet!

alumni Kate Collis with camera behind backdrop

Follow / Connect


Please take a look at some of my work and all of the great things The Shepherd Center for the Performing Arts is doing for the community – our website and social media are linked in this article! Although we just started up about 6 months ago, we have a lot to offer already and would love for you to get involved with us! 🙂

My favorite hobby has always been playing music so getting intertwined with The Shepherd Center has inspired me to focus on that even more. I’m hoping to push myself to perform soon at some of our recurring open mics! I’ve also wanted to get back into teaching piano tutorials and posting covers on YouTube like I used to when I was in high school, but I’m currently taking life one step at a time!

alumni kate collis selfie with gold backdrop
Q: What did you first do after graduation?

A: During high school and unfortunately worsening for many years afterward, chronic illness and pain had taken over most of my life. I struggled tirelessly through debilitating symptoms, persistent doctor appointments, physical therapies, and procedures hoping to find answers through trial-and-error treatments. During this period, I tried to keep my brain and body moving no matter what – whether that was getting myself out of the house to volunteer at Gifts to Give, hanging with friends and family, or making and accomplishing my own little projects and goals. I stayed as resilient as I could, also encouraged by my amazing support system, and eventually dug a pathway through it. Although the battle is not over, I feel like I’ve taken my life back and I don’t plan on letting anything else stop me!

Q: What has your career path been like?

A: Like many people, my first job was in retail. I worked at Walgreens – customer service, registering, answering phones, stocking shelves – the whole shebang. This was a huge step for me, but as I mentioned above, long stressful hours of constant movement proved to be quite impossible with my illness. I gained some great experience, especially socially, and was proud of the months I was able to push through, but I definitely lost some hope of working any job successfully. Then I stumbled upon The Shepherd Center for the Performing Arts. A close friend of mine introduced me to the owner of a local guitar shop who was starting up this non-profit in Fairhaven and was looking for someone younger to build up and manage their website. This was a huge opportunity for me to get my foot in the door and gain more knowledge of my trade along the way, while also being able to work mostly from home. I am hoping for this to pave my creative path for even more job opportunities in the future.

Q: Tell us about your current job position and list some of the skills you need in your trade.

A: This starting business quickly grew and my position branched off into much more. I was ready to put all of my abilities into real-world practice and prove to myself that I could do it! As their Multimedia Specialist and an active events committee member, I currently manage our website, Facebook and Instagram content and scheduling, design most graphics, attend and photograph every event, design and manage blast emails and mailing lists, create online ticketing pages, and am the primary advertising contact for all performers. If you couldn’t tell, I fell madly in love with this place and all of the incredible people involved. I suddenly found myself putting most of my energy and time into this whole thing – which is exactly what I had been looking for! While working at all of these shows, socializing, and becoming such a big part of our art-thriving community, I have been able to experience and pursue almost every single skill I learned and loved in Media Technology at GNB Voc-Tech. And for that, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough thanks to go around.