As schools across the country adjust to a new way of teaching, Mercy Career & Technical High School had an extra challenge: how to bring the unique hands-on experience of its vocational classes to students, suddenly from a distance.

More than 200 high schoolers attend Mercy Tech, the only Catholic, co-ed vocational school in the country, located in Philadelphia, PA. A typical day at Mercy Tech might find students in a Building Trades class installing sheets of drywall in a mock home, or in a Health Occupations simulated hospital room learning first aid.

In just one day, teachers had to adapt classes to something students could do and learn virtually. In one course, students are asked to fix things around their home, documenting the process with photos and video to share with the class. All Mercy Tech students continue to attend a full day of class from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Each day begins, just as always, with prayer, and students are required to wear their school uniform shirts.

In this new normal, Mercy Tech continues to see one of the highest attendance rates for any high school in Philadelphia: 97% of students attend all classes.

Mercy Tech continues to see its school values upheld in other ways, too. Realizing they would need to cancel the much-anticipated spring service trip open only to juniors and seniors, students and staff rounded up the supplies they would have used and instead offered them to healthcare professionals working in this public health crisis. Mercy Tech donated 200 N95 masks, pulled from the school’s Building Trades program, as well as face shields and hospital gowns from the Health Occupations program, to staff at CHOP and Penn Presbyterian Trauma Center; and an additional 200 hospital gowns to Lions Gate, a continuing care retirement center in Voorhees, NJ.

Schultz & Williams is proud to partner with Mercy Tech.