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'Big step for me' | Connecticut students celebrated for starting careers in the trades

More than 150 students signed with the submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat after graduation.

GROTON, Conn — More than 150 graduating seniors from various Connecticut high schools are off to the workforce.

The submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat held a signing day ceremony for those students who’ve accepted jobs in a skilled trade with the company.

For some this journey took a lot of perseverance.

“I don’t want it to be an excuse I want it to be a reason to be better,” said Dayna Spencer.

Last September, Dayna Spencer and her family lost a big piece of their lives. Her little sister, Andra, was killed in a car crash in Glastonbury just days before her 16th birthday.

Now, eight months later Dayna is preparing to step into a new chapter of her life, one she has to do without her little sister by her side.

“As I move through the different things that are going on in my life, I know that this is what she would have wanted so I am doing all of this stuff for her not just for me,” said Spencer.

She along with 165 other students from different high schools across Connecticut are being celebrated for their achievement in accepting jobs in skilled trade with General Dynamics Electric Boat, a major submarine manufacturer for the U.S. Navy, and the industrial heartbeat of Southeastern Connecticut.

“She’s my baby girl and she’s doing her thing and I know that Andra is watching from above and making sure that she’s on the right path,” said Brian Spencer.

For some students, this is their first job ever.

“Knowing that this is a big step for me means a lot to me,” said Mekhi Davis.

Making moments like this unforgettable for his biggest supporters.

“You know grandparents always cheering for our grandchildren. I was a little teary-eyed in there because this is really big,” said his grandmother, Cynthia Dill.

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A big deal, that these students are celebrating.

“It feels great. It feels like an empowering feeling almost,” said Kylie Denning.

Even when they are missing those closest to them.

“She would have wanted me to do everything in my power possible to be the best that I can be and use it instead of an excuse, as a reason to do better,” said Spencer.

Electric Boat has a goal to hire 5700 people by the end of the year and these students are a part of that goal.

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 


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