Apprenticeship prepares Maryville High senior for his future

Video games inspired a Maryville High School senior to learn in the classroom and with the I.T. department at his school.
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 8:22 PM EST
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Video games inspired a Maryville High School senior to learn in the classroom and with the I.T. department at his school.

“It’s kind of cool," said Avery Ribich, "I know a little more about computers than I would’ve ever really known about.”

Advanced Placement (AP) computer science class is easy for Ribich, the Maryville High School senior.

“Whenever I play video games and I realized I know how to make their game better I’ve always wanted to like do that for a company," said Ribich.

Ribich learned outside the classroom and earned money for college. It’s a paid position with the Tennessee Valley Youth Apprenticeship Program where he learned a variety of skills in information technologies.

" [It’s] a relationship where we can have someone who can help us keep devices running, but also get some hands-on IT experience," explained Andy Lombardo, the Maryville City Schools Technology Director said.

Lombardo supervised Ribich where he reimaged computers, worked with wiring at the school and repaired laptops, projectors and anything else broken.

“I.T. is one of those areas where you fall into the trap of you’re trying to get experience, but you have to have experience to get a position," said Lombardo.

“It’s preparing people for a career, like lifelong learning. What can I do for the rest of my life that I’m going to be passionate about and I can continue growing and learning," said Donna Wortham, the Assistant Principal at Maryville High School.

Ribich got training from Lombardo for an hour and a half each day. He even earned financial compensation which he planned to put towards college.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that our students are keeping things running for our students," said Lombardo.

Lombardo said the biggest part about working in this field was confidence.

“You might have the book learning or you might have the theoretical knowledge, but until you’ve actually solved a problem, put your hands on it can be hard to have that confidence," explained Lombardo, "And so hopefully he’s getting that confidence to not feel like he’s going to break something every time he tries to fix something.”

“I do feel more confident with like taking apart computers because the first time I took apart a computer I thought I was going to break everything I touched but it’s actually a lot harder, like everything’s a lot stronger in the computer than what people would thing," said Ribich.

Ribich planned to study mechanical engineering and computer science at Tennessee Tech after he graduates.

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