Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

Is there anything more cozy than a Friday evening at home when it's pouring BUCKETS of rain outside? It's 9:50 p.m. as I start to write my blog for this week--I like to have it posted on Friday morning, but this week's schedule has not allowed my blog to be a first priority for today.

I just returned from the graduation ceremony at Ft. Jennings. What at outstanding evening! Actually this whole week was filled with some pretty awesome events, and I will share more of those later. After 19 years as a high school administrator, I have attended probably 30 graduation ceremonies, simply to represent career-technical education. No matter how many I have attended, every one of them leaves me with unspeakable joy and pride in students. Tonight's ceremony at Ft. Jennings will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.

The senior class produced an outstanding class video (the best I have seen) and included its members who attended Vantage. Their video captured our students working in their training labs and related classrooms--and it was excellent coverage and recognition of these students. I was proud to be in the audience watching that video. Another memory I will carry with me is watching every senior take off their robe at the close of the ceremony and exit the gymasium wearing t-shirts with various yearbook pictures of retiring superintendent, Mr. Frank Sukup, emblazoned on their chests. It was a touching gesture and one that I may never see again!

Vantage seniors participated in our annual Senior Award Ceremony this week. I think we had the largest group of home school representatives and parents that I have seen for the three years I have been at Vantage. I look forward to the event every year--parents will appreciate knowing that when our renovation and construction project is completed, there should be much more room to accommodate many, many more parents at this important event.

Our students continue to receive college scholarships and local, state, and national award distinction. Their recognition is also due to excellent instruction and staff members who care enough to teach them well, refer them for awards, and assist them with the scholarship application process. All seniors completing a career-technical program receive their performance certificate and individual career passport from their instructor. Special academic awards are also presented by the academic staff. It seems the list of high-achieving students grows annually, as should be expected.

Today was the last day for seniors, and as in past years, a few come by my office to say their goodbyes. I always encourage students to stay in touch with Vantage and let us know if they need anything--many have built close bonds with various staff members and already know that advice and encouragement will be there via a visit, a phone call or an email in the future.

This week I have witnessed a number of touching gestures and examples of people "going the extra mile" for students or staff. Efforts as simple as a staff member taking time to discuss an issue of concern instead of jumping to conclusions without verifying the facts, and huge special efforts such as throwing a graduation party or planning a farewell cookout for their class, or just staying to work late, because the work would result in something good for students, staff, or Vantage in general have all occurred this week. There are too many instances to note in this entry, but I am thankful to have gathered good memories, big and small, in this past week. Good luck once again to our Vantage seniors--I know you have great memories to take with you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

It finally looks like a weekend free of rain and hopefully, one that is packed with sunshine. Our students and the majority of our staff will soon have the opportunity to enjoy all the good things that come with summer, including the outdoor weather. (and don't forget the ice cream--my personal favorite is the turtle sundae at the Creamery in Delphos!)

The highlight of this past week was attending the annual Senior Health Careers Cooperative Education Employer Appreciation banquet. Our students plan the entire event, along with guidance from the instructors, Reesa Rohrs and Shirley Jarvis. It was gratifying to see the significant number of employers in the room, along with students and their parents. Our seniors were recognized for working a minimum of 450 hours in the health care field during their training experience at Vantage. Many received other accolades in perfect attendance, Ohio SkillsUSA accomplishments, and National Technical Honor Society recognition.

This year's program was the last cooperative education employer banquet, due to changes within the Health Careers training pathway at the state level. Vantage believes in the importance of employer interaction with students in all training programs, and will maintain student familiarity with employers through internship and mentoring experiences; however, the format for instructional delivery in Health Careers will look different beginning in August, 2010. Thank you, instructors, for supporting the change of direction initiated by the Ohio Department of Education, and for helping us design a meaningful program for our health care students.

One cannot observe an event like this annual banquet, so strongly attended by employers, without being reminded that this is what works so beautifully in career-technical education--hands-on training, rigorous and demanding curriculum, combined with great self-discipline and diligence exhibited by young high school students, which prepares each to enter the workforce with industry credentials, and advance their education in a postsecondary degree should they choose to do so. It makes each of us, who works in the career-technical education field, renew our belief in what we do daily. Congratulations and good luck to this year's senior class in Health Careers !

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

It's the end of another week already, but also the end of a very special week at Vantage. National Teacher Appreciation day was Tuesday, May 4, and we choose to appreciate ALL Vantage staff members during this week. Staff members found inspirational notes in their mailboxes, received a letter signed by our Board of Education members recognizing their commitment and service to Vantage, as well as received thank you notes from students who wanted to recognize them for making a difference in their lives. Several departmental activities also took place throughout the building, and there was no shortage of special snacks and treats this week brought in by the adminstrative team for their staff members to enjoy. Many thanks to all the Vantage employees who collectively make it a great experience for all at Vantage Career Center!

A few select students deserve special recognition: Chelsea Bullen, a Vantage Senior Medical Office Management student from Continental, is at national competition in California this week for Business Professionals of America. Chelsea finished fourth in the Medical Office Procedures contest at the state level in March. Her instructor is Mrs. Linda Bales.

Curtis Schroeder, Vantage Carpentry junior student from Kalida, finished FIRST in the state cabinetry contest for SkillsUSA in Columbus. He advances to national competition in Kansas City, MO June 21-25. Curtis' instructor is Roger Ruen.

Delphos Family and Consumer Sciences Satellite students Dulton Moore and Brittney Garza will compete nationally in July in Chicago. Dulton qualified by winning the state contest in FCCLA for Job Interview and Brittney advanced by winning the Life Event contest. Their instructor is Joyce Larimore.

Vantage is pleased and extremely proud of these students and their instructors! National competition is a rare accomplishment, and for some teachers it happens once, if ever, in their career. Much work and extra time goes into preparing students for the grueling regional and state contests--but for those students who have the commitment and self-discipline to keep their eye on the goal, it is a "dream come true". All of these students will return to Ohio with memories which will last a lifetime.

Thank you, Vantage staff, for the great work you do!