By Donna M. Perry, Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – Eighteen-year-old Aidan Salisbury of Temple likes to solve problems and help other students.
“I like finding solutions to problems,” the Mt. Blue High School senior said Wednesday. “That is why I got into composites.”
He is a second-year student in the composites manufacturing program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center. Salisbury is also a four-year varsity soccer player, captain his senior year, and a four-year lacrosse team member.
Melissa Williams, director of the Foster center, announced Tuesday at a Regional School Unit 9 meeting that Salisbury was chosen as the center’s Student of the Year.
They look for a student who is “outstanding in many ways and who is a strong advocate and role model for career and technical education and other students,” Williams said in an email Wednesday.
Composites manufacturing teaches the basics of vacuum infusion, which means infusing fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar with resin, he said.
He and fellow students, including his twin brother Will, have made longboards and worked on canoes, doing mostly repairs on the latter. They’ve also done other projects.
“Every day, usually, when we go into the shop we are finding solutions to complex problems,” he said.
He also likes other parts of the program.
“I really like the teaching aspects of the program,” he said, including teaching first-year students.
With the program only part-time and the number of students involved, the advanced students help the first-year students, he said.
Salisbury enjoys the outdoors and working in the program on outdoor equipment including skis, skateboards, longboards, canoes and kayaks.
“Basically everything I have done, I did it with Will,” he said.
Students work under the guidance of teacher Chris DeMarco. They listen to music while working and consult with DeMarco over the best way to approach a project. There are lots of projects being done in the shop, including first-year students building an 18-foot rocket, Salisbury said. They are hoping to launch it, he said.
The program is expected to expand to full time next school year thanks to outside donations.
“I’m glad,” Salisbury said. “It is an amazing program. If you want to do something, you can do it.”
Following graduation, he plans to attend the University of Maine in Orono to study mechanical engineering and hopes to get a bachelor of science degree, he said. After that he hopes to attend the University of Maryland in College Park to get a master’s degree in materials engineering.
After college, Salisbury said he and his brother have talked about opening a canoe and kayak repair business. Or, he said, working for a company as a mechanical engineer.