Career Vocational Technical Education students at Gloucester High School will be able to step out in style and be safe in shop thanks to new work boots they received during a Thursday morning assembly in the auditorium from BRUNT Workwear of North Reading.
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the school’s four career programs — Auto Tech, Advanced Manufacturing/Machine Tech, Electrical Tech and Carpentry Tech — where called up by shop to receive their free boots. Seniors who plan to go into the trades also received a pair.
The company donated 108 pairs to students in the trades with a cash value of approximately $16,000, according to Michael Gaffney, the schools’ community engagement and communications coordinator. The assembly was held on the same day as a Career and Technical Education Showcase scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
“This is great,” said Evan Mione, 16, a sophomore in Auto Tech, who said he plans to continue on with the trade fixing cars.
“It’s good,” said Amiah Gabriele, 15, a sophomore in Auto Tech, about the boot giveaway. “It really helps a lot of people,” said Gabriele, who said she has always liked working on cars and learning more about them.
Advanced Manufacturing/Machine Tech sophomore Alexander Pierre, 16, said he plans to pursue a career in his trade, after he received a pair of BRUNT Workwear boots.
“I think it’s awesome,” said ninth-grader Adam Romanuk, 15, a carpentry tech student, after receiving his pair.
In a letter to the School Committee asking for the school board to accept its donation of work boots for CVTE students at Gloucester High, Chief of Staff Stephen Goldsmith wrote: “BRUNT’s core social impact is donating work wear to young students at trade schools both locally and across the country.”
He wrote the company’s founder and CEO Eric Girouard and his team “regularly visit trade schools to give out free gear, encourage students to pursue their trade to their fullest potential, and remind students that being in the trades is something to be proud of.”
The company has donated more than $100,000 in work boots and apparel to trades schools, including to Essex Tech, Northeast Metro Tech and Salem High. The boots are donated and the company does not receive any compensation.
Goldsmith told the students BRUNT was found in 2020 by Girouard, who grew up in a blue-collar household. His father worked as a machinist and a roofer and Girouard grew up around the trades. Goldsmith explained that Girouard went off to college while most of his buddies went into the trades and quickly built careers for themselves.
“You know, Eric was pretty jealous because he was in a bunch of college debt and they were buying their first houses and trucks and building careers for themselves,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said Girouard launched a couple of businesses, and realized all the brands and trends in the trades were over 150 years old and most didn’t resonate with consumers or didn’t care about tradesmen and -women. He decided to launch a brand that would change that. All the gear is named after Girouard’s friends who work in the trades.
“I’m actually really pumped to see the new generation of tradesmen and women in here,” said Jeremy Perkins, BRUNT’s community events manager who started out as a diesel mechanic.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Career/Vocational Technical Education Coordinator Brenda Waslick of the boot giveaway. It was Waslick who reached out to BRUNT. Waslick said while BRUNT had gone to other schools, this was the first time the company had come to Gloucester to giveaway gear. “We have a lot of deserving students and we want them all to be safe in shop.”