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Career Tech Center marks 35th anniversary, adds programs

Photo: Tristan Buirley

Juniors Zachary Donovan, Evan Stonecypher and William Crider wait as junior Daryl Hale saws a block of wood for a project. Construction Trades teacher Lou Laquaglia observes as junior Allison Combs works in the parking lot outside Fairmont's Career Tech Center.

By Tristan Buirley, Staff Writer

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Fairmont High School’s Career Tech Center celebrated its 35th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 28, with a ceremony to induct five people into the CTC Hall of Fame, tours of the facility and refreshments. It also formally announced the addition of two new programs for next year:  Accounting and Aerospace Engineering.

In 1975, Fairmont’s CTC began with only four programs, but now offers 12 choices. Two of the original programs, Diversified Health Occupations and General Clerical, grew into today’s Allied Health program. The other two, Auto Mechanics and Graphics Communications, still provide educational opportunities for students, although the program names have changed slightly.

Along with Accounting and Aerospace Engineering, the CTC programs offered at Fairmont are Allied Health, Automotive Technology, Biotechnology, Construction Trades, Digital Design, Early Childhood Education, Marketing Technology, Project Lead the Way Engineering, Interactive Media and Information Technology.

(In addition, Fairmont students can take CTC programs offered at Centerville High School. The CHS offerings are Business, Business Administration Management, Business Medical Technology, Environmental Management, Exercise Science, Technical Theatre, Hospitality Management and Tourism/Restaurant Management.)

CTC students who succeed in their programs leave Fairmont with a college transcript consisting of anywhere from 2 to 36 credit hours that can be transferred to 2- and 4-year colleges in Ohio. In 2009, CTC students earned more than 1,400 college credits, worth about $63,000 in college tuition. In addition, qualifying tech prep students earn a scholarship to Sinclair Community College, helping to defray college costs even more.

CTC students find success, set goals

Scott Leo, a 1999 Fairmont graduate, started teaching Interactive Media with Laura Hutchens this year. He was in Interactive Media while at Fairmont and he was the first Interactive Media student to earn a scholarship.

“I think the Career Tech Program prepares students for a career and post-secondary education,” said Leo.

Being in Interactive Media helped get Leo started in broadcasting. “I had the same experiences in Interactive Media that I experienced in broadcasting,” he said. He broadcast for a Springfield radio station and uses that experience to help teach Interactive Media today.

Amanda VanDyke, who teaches the Biotechnology Tech Prep class, sees the effect her class has on students every year. “The class helps people break out of their shell and know how to put on a presentation,” she said.

Two of her current students had the same idea about a possible career when they joined the class. Seniors Dakota Carter and Morgan Tyree said they were both interested in crime scene investigation work, but VanDyke’s class has fostered new and diverse interests.

Carter has started to stray from the idea of a career in forensic science and is looking into a new interest, virology. In addition to the knowledge he’s gaining, Carter says he’s gotten a lot out of the program. He sees that he is better at public speaking because of the class, and he enjoys the relationships he’s formed. “Being in a Career Tech program with the same people makes you become a kind of family,” he said.

Tyree also has shifted gears in her career choice because of Biotechnology Tech Prep. “I love CSI shows, so I really was interested in murder mystery,” said Tyree. “Now I want to be a labor delivery nurse.”

Tyree admitted that she initially underestimated the class. “It’s harder than I thought,” she said. However, the program has helped her in many ways. “It’s made me know that I can get a scholarship, and it has taught me a lot about the how the field of science works.”

Accounting and Aerospace Engineering

The CTC is expanding its course offerings next year with two programs:  Accounting and Aerospace Engineering.

Although not an entirely new offering at Fairmont, the Accounting program will grow next year, adding more instruction and including the opportunity to earn college credit. The current Accounting teacher, Len Byer, will change his class to fit the requirements of a college-credit program. All the career programs require the teacher to have past experience in the field. Byer majored in accounting, and he worked various occupations in business for 20 years.

Students can enter the CTC Accounting program as early as their sophomore year, and they can earn five quarter hours or three semester hours of college credit by taking the class for two consecutive years. 

Career Tech Center Supervisor Nancy Brown sees accounting as a subject linked to college. “I think it’s important for students to have a beginning in accounting,” said Brown. “Accounting is something that all students should take to get ready for college.”

The newest addition to the CTC stable of programs is Aerospace Engineering. David Lord, who also teaches the Engineering program, will teach the new Aerospace Engineering class. Both programs are certified as Project Lead the Way programs. PLTW is a nationally recognized organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of science and technology graduates in the United States.

Lord said he learned from Fairmont counselors that many students find the field of aerospace engineering interesting and feel the program will give them an idea about what a career in the field would entail. “I’m looking forward to working with the engineers at Wright-Patt to make this a great experience for the students,” said Lord. “I expect great things.”

CTC Hall of Fame inducts 5

Five people, including former Career Tech students, educators and business partners, were inducted into the CTC Hall of Fame Thursday night.

The former Fairmont students inducted into the Hall of Fame were David and Tessie Ganz-Sarto. Mr. Ganz-Sarto participated in Fairmont’s Radio Club during his years at Fairmont, while Mrs. Ganz-Sarto was a member of the Office Education Program during her senior year. After their schooling, they worked together to found Alternate Solutions HomeCare, an organization that provides services to elderly citizens.

The Ganzo-Sartos’ daughter, Libby, is a senior at Fairmont and is involved in the CTC’s Marketing Program. Her brother, Anthony, convinced her to take the program, and she’s had fun being involved in the class. “It motivates me to do well in other aspects of life,” said Ganz-Sarto. “It helped me know what I want to do, because now I know I want to go into business.”

Ganz-Sarto said she thought it was “really cool” that her parents were being inducted, but added jokingly, “It makes them look really old.”

Several current Career Tech teachers nominated three other Hall of Fame inductees. Project Lead the Way Engineering Tech Prep teacher David Lord nominated Brian Shively; Allied Health Tech Prep teacher Diane Patterson nominated Vicki Studebaker; and Biotechnology Tech Prep teacher Amanda VanDyke nominated Jill Schenck.

Shively graduated from the first Engineering Program class, earned a scholarship to Sinclair Community College, obtained a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Dayton and went on to work at a local manufacturing company. He continues to support the program by mentoring students, conducting field trips, and sponsoring the Battle Bots I.Q. team.

Studebaker has been a community partner for the Allied Health Program for the past five years. She has made generous donations of time and materials to the Allied Health program, benefiting the Allied Health students as the class roster has grown.

VanDyke nominated Schenck, the CTC Secretary. “She is the common thread that maintains the warm family environment that is the Career Tech Center,” VanDyke said.

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The school newsmagazine of Kettering Fairmont High School.
Career Tech Center marks 35th anniversary, adds programs