30 years of teaching trades

  • John Hubbard (right) teaches a student how to weld. Courtesy of Hinesight Imagery

For the Monitor
Published: 6/20/2022 4:58:12 PM
Modified: 6/20/2022 4:57:52 PM

For the past three decades, longtime Concord Regional Technical Center Construction Trades teacher John Hubbard has introduced close to 3,000 Concord area high school students to careers as electricians, plumbers, builders and architects. Over the years his students have built Habitat for Humanity houses, engaged in pre-apprentice programs and have completed hundreds of hours of college-level courses in electrical, HVAC and welding.

These days, Hubbard routinely runs into former students in gas stations, restaurants and at the grocery store, all eager to say hello and to update him on what they’ve been up to in the five, ten or 20 years since graduating from his Career and Technical Education class.

“I’ll be shopping and some 40-year-old guy will call out ‘hey Mr. Hubbard’ and then rush over to talk to me,” he said. “A lot of those students are now running their own construction or electrical businesses. I’ve forgotten many of their names, but I enjoy hearing their success stories. That’s the real reward I get from teaching.”

Hubbard will be retiring at the end of this school year after having taught CTE Construction programs in both the Huot Technical Center in Laconia, where he spent his first seven years, and the CRTC. Prior to teaching, he worked 14 years in the construction industry, starting as a laborer and working his way up to job superintendent. He made the transition to teaching after seeing an ad in the Concord Monitor, and has never looked back.

“The construction program was more on the vocational school model when I started,” he said. “But over time career and technical education has evolved into a career-focused model that offers students college credits, industry certifications and jobsite experience that really jumpstarts their post-secondary plans.”

Jennifer Landon, director of internship and career planning for Associated Builders and Contractors of NH and Vt., has worked with Hubbard for the past five years opening up opportunities for students by connecting them to local employers. She said that Hubbard was the first CTE construction teacher in the state to reimagine his program beyond a strict building construction focus.

“Five years before retirement, he enrolled in the Manchester School of Mechanical Trades to learn the basics of welding, plumbing and electrical so he could offer his students a wider range of career opportunities,” she said. “He exemplifies what a CTE teacher should be.”

By building connections to local employers, postsecondary education and to other CTE construction programs across the state, Hubbard has ensured that his program was keeping pace with the latest industry and educational trends, said CRTC Principal Steve Rothenberg.

“His willingness to embrace personal growth and change has been an example to both his students and his colleagues,” he said. “And his commitment to putting students first and putting them in touch with the industry has created lots of opportunities for those students.”

Former student Brock Cullen graduated from Hubbard’s class in 2012 and now is the Construction Trades teacher at Conant High School in Jaffrey. He said his former teacher was both a role model and a mentor for him, even after he graduated from high school.

“I kept in contact with Mr. Hubbard after high school, and two years ago he encouraged me to apply to the teaching job in Jaffrey,” Cullen said. “He went out of his way to help me out, even though he was no longer my teacher … he was more like a friend to me.”

Hubbard said that he has no big plans for retirement, and will take each day as it comes, working on projects around the house, backpacking, skiing, sailing and playing golf.

“I think I’m probably going to miss it every day,” he said. I’ll miss building those relationships with students each year, I’ll miss the projects, and I’ll miss the people I’m working with. It’s been a great run.”

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