Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Help Now

 On September 29th, Vantage Career Center will be getting very involved in the Day of Caring here in Van Wert county. In fact, Vantage has been so involved in that day, that it has been renamed The United Way Vantage Day of Caring".  For 25 years, the United Way has run one of the biggest food drives of the year, the Vantage Day of Caring. This is a local food drive that the area schools and businesses support. Many local schools will be accepting donations until Thursday, September 28 and classes frequently compete to bring in the most donations. There will be food barrels all around town and the public is encouraged to fill them. This weekend, Walmart and Chiefs will have trucks by their entrances from 10 am - 4 pm. You will see many of our Vantage students there helping out. This is a great time to volunteer, help where needed,or donate items to this cause.

So why am I mentioning this when in my earlier blogs I spoke about using the book written by Gregg Levoy, "Callings". Well, if you remember, I want to challenge you to think about the quotes I give you and see how they can apply to your life. Are you following your calling? Is an event calling us to do something that may change us or open our hearts to something we never thought about. I believe the Vantage Day of Caring is just the type of volunteer opportunity that may change you. The quote I am using today is: 

"If we wait to tend to suffering until we've dealt with our own, we'll never get around to wiping away so much as a single teardrop of anyone else's."

I've heard so many people say things like, "I really don't know what to say to them, I have never lost a parent". Or, "I'm not sure I can talk to them about suicide, I just don't understand why someone would contemplate that". I believe the quote is stating that we don't have to go through what that person is experiencing in order to comfort them. We don't have to lose a parent to put our arm around someone that did. We don't have to be afraid of telling a friend you are there for them if they are contemplating suicide. We also don't have to be homeless or living without food in order to help those that are. The Vantage Day of Caring is a great way to help those who are in need. You will be helping people that you don't even know and feeding starving children that you will never meet. When you volunteer or donate to this cause, I promise you, you will be blessed more than those that receive. You will see how many people in this community really care about others and how many people want to help others. Don't always watch the news, it can get depressing. Volunteer and you will see how much good there really is in this world, especially our community. Don't be afraid to do something you have never done before, just help now and watch yourself grow. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

What is your Calling?

     As I mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to try something new this year as I write this blog. I wanted to challenge you and have you think about where you are going in life, what career are you choosing for yourself and are you following your calling. My inspiration for this comes from a great friend and mentor I have known for over 18 years now. Mr. Dave Myers was my mentor when I started here at Vantage. He was the school counselor that I would be taking over for the following year. I was privileged to work with him for a full year while I was doing my internship. Dave was a true inspiration to me and I continue to use so many of the tools that he left me with. Before Dave left, he had me read a book called "Callings" by Gregg Levoy. I highly recommend that you pick this book up and take the time to read it. The book ask the question, How do we know if we are following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday life and hear the calls that are beckoning us?

Callings is the first book to examine the many kinds of calls we receive, and the great variety of channels through which they come to us. A calling may be to do something (change careers, go back to school, start or leave a relationship, etc), or it calls us to be something (more creative, less judgmental, more loving). Every student here at Vantage has answered the call to venture out in their educational career and try something new, something different. You have decided that you want to pursue a career field that interest you and that you want to get ahead of your former classmates by earning skills in that field. I want you to know that the staff here at Vantage will do everything possible to help you reach your goals. We will work with you to earn those skills that you need to land a great career or further your education in college. However, we need you to work alongside of us. We need you to come to school everyday, work hard, get along with others and obey the rules. Be a leader. Get involved. Avoid the drama. Together we can make these final years of your high school career be the best ever. 

Throughout this year, I will take quotes from the "Callings" book and post them in this blog. Quotes that I think will help you grow and give you something to ponder. The quote I want to highlight today is something I want you to  think about as you meet new students in your classes or if you are looking for a place to sit at lunch. The quote is: "When you wonder about a group of people who are different from you, find someone from that group and ask them to teach you." Find out about their background, their nationality, their home school, etc. I think you will find you have more in common than you think and you may just make a friend for life. 

Thanks for reading and have a great school year. We will hopefully grow a little more in the next blog. 


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Welcome Students

 I would like to start out by saying welcome to all of our students for the 2023/2024 school year. I am excited to welcome back our seniors and also to meet all the new juniors this year. I have to admit that it has been awhile since I wrote my last blog. I just feel that I got so busy with everything going on that I just never took the time to write very much last year. I have promised myself that I will try to write a new blog at least once a month. 

I am hoping that our seniors have a great year and accomplish everything they set out to do. This year will go by very fast for you, so please take your time and truly enjoy each and every day. Get involved in as much as you can. Enter the competitions for your program and see if you can make it to state. Go out of your way to meet a few new people this year, you may end up with a friend for life. Work hard in all your classes, even the ones you may not need for graduation, it will pay off in the long run. Be a leader around the school campus by being respectful and caring. Make this year a year that you can be proud of and one that you will look back on and be glad that you didn't waste it. Most of all though, I hope you truly enjoy each and every day that you are here at Vantage. 

For the juniors: I know that you will be a little anxious at first, but just relax. You will discover that Vantage is a wonderful place to learn and to be a part of. Reach out to your teachers, the staff or the counselors whenever you have a question or concern. I promise you that within a few weeks you will call Vantage your home. Follow the rules, respect others and work hard. That is a pretty simple request and yet it will give you so much fun and enjoyment as you develop your career skills and prepare yourself for the workforce or college. I realize that you are making quite a change in your education by choosing Vantage, but I know it is a decision that you will not regret. I have been here at Vantage for a long time and I see the positive changes in the students every year. You will come in as young juniors and not real sure about your future or career path, and then in two short years you will walk out these doors with a great paying job and a career or be heading off to college. Thank you for choosing Vantage

In closing, I am looking forward to this school year and I hope you are too. I hope you will continue reading my blog throughout the year as I have an interesting idea that I think you will enjoy. As always, please stop by the counseling office anytime you wish to talk to someone or just want to vent. We have a great student services staff that is always willing to help you. Until next time, take care and have fun.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

988 Crisis Line

 The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. The main goal of SAMHSA is to make sure that people with, or affected by, or at risk for mental health and substance use conditions receive care, thrive and achieve well-being. I believe they have one of the most comprehensive websites for mental health care and drug abuse care that I have ever explored. I hope you will take a look at their website (  and look at everything they have to offer. This may be a help to you or someone you know that is struggling with mental health issues or drug abuse issues.

If you or someone you know is struggling in a crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at

988 is beginning to show up all around the country. You will see it on bumper stickers, television ads and on college football player shirts and hats. I believe even the Iowa police cars have it displayed on the side of the vehicle. It is so important to get this message out. There isn't any reason for someone not to reach out for help when they are feeling down and depressed. Please reach out to someone you know or stop in and see someone in student services. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the holidays can be a stressful time and it can be easy for people to get lonely and depressed. Don't suffer alone. 

In closing, my wish is that everyone in Vantage would see this blog and pass the information on to others. If you need the help, than I hope you will take the time to call 988. If you know someone that could use the help, please make them aware of the 988 number and the SAMHSA website. My heart breaks to see our students hurting and not reaching out to anyone or feeling like they don't have anyone to talk with. Once again, please stop in to student services if you ever need to talk. If it is after school hours, please call 988. All of you are part of the Vantage family and like any family, we care about everyone of you.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Help at Christmas Time

 People often talk about the holiday blues or feeling depressed around the holiday season. There is a reason for this. Television, radio and advertisements try to make it feel like everyone is having a "hallmark" type of Thanksgiving or Christmas. If we aren't celebrating like they are on TV, then something must be wrong. If you have been watching any of the movies on the Hallmark channel, you will notice a certain theme. It seems like it is always snowing and people are taking sleigh rides through beautiful parks that are all lit up with Christmas lights. The Christmas music is playing, bells are ringing, and in the end everyone is gathered around the decorated table eating a feast made for kings. The movie usually ends with everyone holding hands and going about town singing Christmas carols. The commercials that are on TV can be another problem. It looks like everyone is out shopping and having a great time. They want you to believe that if you don't spend money, you won't be happy. They create the image that you must have everything that is being sold otherwise you won't have a very merry Christmas.

The truth is, the above scenario very rarely ever happens anymore. I don't know about you, but I haven't taken a sleigh ride and sang Christmas carols in a long time. I also realize many of our students have never experienced a Thanksgiving or Christmas like the ones depicted in the movies. I also realize many of you are worrying about what you will have for Christmas dinner or how you will eat over the Christmas season. I hope I can offer you some tips and resources that you can use or maybe a friend of yours could use.

1) Don't expect the holidays to be the same as when you were a little child. They NEVER are. You are not the same as you where when you were a child.

2) Focus on what you have, not what you don't. Ignore the commercials where the husband surprises his wife with a brand new luxury car or a diamond ring. This only leaves you wondering, "What about me?" Remind yourself that it's not the stuff that makes the holidays important.

3) The holidays bring back memories of loved ones, I understand that. Give yourself permission to grieve, and deal with the loss in your own way. If you want to cry, go ahead. If you want to remember your loved one in a special way, go ahead. Light a candle, put together a scrapbook, decorate the grave stone with flowers, or whatever else you find comforting.

I have a short list of places where you may be able to get help with your meals during the holidays, please feel free to use these resources, they are there for you.

           - Trinity Friends Church across from Vantage. Weekly hours are Tuesday from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon and Thursdays from 4:00 - 5:30 pm.

           - Van Wert County Dept. of Jobs and Family Services: 419-238-5430. They can help with a short term family financial need of up to $1000.00

           - Salvation Army: 419-238-9100. They will be able to help or lead you to assistance.

           - NorthWest Ohio Community Action Commission: A regional non-profit that partners with local agencies like the United Way and local churches. Click here for their website.

           - Delphos Interfaith Thrift Store: Not for profit combination thrift store, food pantry and financial assistance entity. 419-692-2942

           - West Ohio Food Bank: A great resource. They work with churches all over Allen, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties. They will help. 419-222-7946. 

One last thing I would like to mention. There is a new number for the suicide and crisis lifeline. The number is 988. If you or someone you know is struggling or in a crisis, help is available. Call or text
988 or chat I will be writing about this helpline in the near future.

And as always, please stop by and talk if you are having problems this holiday season. If you need food, clothing or just want to talk about some struggles you are having, please see me or Mrs. McConahay. Our doors are always open for you. Thanks and I hope you relax and enjoy this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


 Christmas is that time of year when people are looking forward to some time off, gathering with friends and family or just taking it easy over the break. Small children are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and the stores are jam packed with people looking for a great bargain. Well speaking of great bargains...I want to inform you that the Media Center Book Fair is right around the corner. The book fair will start this Friday, December 2nd and run through the 9th of December. This is one event that I look forward to each year. First of all, I love reading. Second, I find it very convenient to choose a few stocking stuffers for my wife and grandchildren. 

So, you may be asking yourselves what the Media Center Book Sale actually is. Well each year, Mrs. Knodel will pre-order hundreds of books (there may be close to 1000 books) that she will display in the media center. They will all be laid out on the tables in the media center and organized by different categories. The books are all for sale and they are all brand new. Now here is the good part, all of the books are 30% off and there is no sales tax. Now try to find a better deal than that this year. There will be books for all ages and all interests. There will be magazines and also calendars available.

I hope everyone will take some time and go browse around the book sale. There are so many ideas for great Christmas gifts. Mrs. Knodel does such a wonderful job at putting this on and works hard to get a great variety of books and magazines. As I just walked past the media center, I noticed about 30 big crates loaded with books that will have to be sorted and put out on the tables. That is not an easy task but Mrs. Knodel does it because she also loves reading and knows how much it can help our students. Books are a way to improve your reading skills, allow you to travel to far away places using your imagination or give you the opportunity to experience events that happened long ago. Now if that isn't reason enough to shop the sale, I don't know what is. Thanks Mrs. Knodel for putting this on.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Junior Rotarians


Recently at Vantage Career Center, we had the opportunity to select our Junior Rotarians for the year. Each year the Rotary club of Van Wert allows a select group of students from Van Wert High School, Lincolnview High School, Crestview High School and Vantage Career Center to participate in their weekly Rotary meetings. Vantage is allowed to send two students each month to their meetings. It is a great opportunity for the students to network with a wide variety of business professionals and gain a vast amount of knowledge. The students will also be eligible to apply for a four year scholarship from the Rotary. 

The student selection criteria is as follows:

Resident of Van Wert County and a graduating senior

Maintained a 3.0 GPA

Plan on attending an institution of higher education

Demonstrate voluntary service to their school, community, church and family

Demonstrate a degree of maturity, self-reliance, self-discipline and resourcefulness.

Well rounded with a broad set of interests

Demonstrates leadership potential

Other personal qualities or strengths

I am happy to announce this year's Jr. Rotarians representing Vantage Career Center. They are: Corbin Army (Ind Mech), Leigha Bendele (Health Tech), Dylan Buzard (Network Systems), Jorja Forwerck (Early Childhood), Evan Hefner (Network Systems), Juliana McClure (Sports Exercise), Brooke Miller (Sports Exercise), Lily Price (Health Tech), Caleb Shobe (Criminal Justice), Saige Waltmire (Sports Exercise), Payton Waltmire (Cosmetology), Riona Workman (Carpentry).

This past Tuesday, the Rotary club invited all the Jr. Rotarians from each school and their principals and/or counselors to attend a kickoff meeting. This meeting was to explain to the students what the Rotary is all about and get them comfortable with coming to the meetings. It was such a great meeting and a real benefit for the students and myself. I am amazed at all the different projects that the Rotary has been involved with in the Van Wert community. They have poured so much money and time into making Van Wert a better place to live and a place that anyone would want to come back to. They have donated over $600,000 since the year 2000 (as of 2020). I was also amazed that this particular club in Van Wert has been around for 102 years and each president of the club serves for only one year…and they have never had the same person as president more than once. That means they have had 102 different people volunteer to be the club president. That just astounds me and says so much for the club and the people of Van Wert. 

I personally want to thank the Van Wert Rotary Club for inviting us to the meeting yesterday. I want to thank you for all the time and money you invest in the community but also in our students. Thank you for being such a fine example for our students and our future leaders. The club talks about “Service above self “ and they certainly show that by their actions. Thank you again Van Wert Rotary and Congratulations to all the Junior Rotarians for 2022-2023.