Thursday, November 29, 2018

Eagle Pride

Once again I get to write a short blog to honor one of our fine young students here at Vantage Career Center. Jordan Lofton, Senior Welder from Ft. Jennings, has just earned his Eagle Scout award. Just last year we were honored to have two students earn this award and now this year Jordan adds his name to our growing list. This is such a great accomplishment that I am always thrilled to spread the news whenever it happens. Earning the Eagle Scout award is a big deal. According to the National Eagle Scout Association, only about 5% of all Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. To become an Eagle Scout, you must earn a total of at least 21 merit badges, including the following: First Aid, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Swimming (Hiking or Cycling), Camping, Cooking and Family Life. They are also required to complete a service project.

Jordan completely revamped a small area of the outdoor Science lab at Ft. Jennings High School by having stone brought in and spreading it out around the grounds. He also built two picnic tables at the site because the other ones were completely ruined. The amazing thing about this project is that it didn't cost Jordan anything to accomplish this task except some sweat and hard labor. Vetter lumber in Ft. Jennings donated the wood for the tables and Mr. Langhals had the stone brought in for the project. Jordan said the entire project, from planning to completion, took about a month.

The Eagle awarding ceremony took place on November 11th. Jordan is now an official member of an elite rank. If you get the chance to speak with Jordan, please congratulate him on this great honor and take some time to really get to know him. Jordan is a quiet leader. He may not have a lot of words but he is a great person and very kind and thoughtful. Thanks Jordan for being an inspiration and living up to a very high standard.

Monday, November 19, 2018


I am writing this post because there is a real concern that many young students believe that vaping is harmless and they can't get addicted. If you are not aware of the term "vaping", I am referring to the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an
e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease. The newest and most popular vaping device is the JUUL, which is a small sleek device that resembles a computer USB flash drive. It's subtle, easy to hide and doesn't put off a lot of smoke, thus popular with middle and high students.

In 2017, 1 in 10 students currently used an e-cigarette; now it is 1 in 5. That's more than 3 million kids, and after several years of decline, overall tobacco use is up, largely due to the rising popularity of e-cigarettes. Additionally, many teens do not view these products as harmful and some aren't even aware that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. This is where we come in. All of us need to work together to solve this problem. Parents, teachers and yes, even you fellow students. Get the word out and explain that vaping is serious and addictive.

Some common myths: 1) It's just water vapor - No it's not. Vaping can expose the user's lungs to harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, diacetyl and acrolein. 2) It's just flavoring - Vapes get their flavors from chemicals. While these flavorings are safe in food, inhaling flavors can harm your lungs. 3) My vape says it's nicotine free - Some vapes that claim they are nicotine-free are not! 4) I don't have an addictive personality, I won't get hooked - Vaping delivers nicotine to the brain in as little as 10 seconds. Research shows teens who vape are more likely to try smoking cigarettes.

I believe education and parents put a pretty good halt to tobacco use in young students a few years back. According to the CDC, from 2011 to 2017, cigarette smoking declined among middle and high school students. In 2017, 2 of every 100 middle school students (2.1%) reported that they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days-a decrease from 4.3% in 2011. However, our children are being attacked again, and they need our help. We need to educate them as to the consequences of vaping and e-cigarettes. In the past year alone, vaping among high student's has increased 78%.

As all of you can see, vaping is no joke. Please get the word out to as many people you can. Discuss it with your family and friends. If you see someone vaping, throw some of these facts at them. Maybe this Thanksgiving break you will have the opportunity to speak to someone about vaping. Grab the opportunity and you just might save someone's life. Thanks for reading and have a great Thanksgiving and a relaxing break.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Rule # 4

Well the mid-term elections are over and we can finally put an end to all the bickering and fighting, or can we? I don't care what side of the aisle you may be on, I think we all agree that the fighting, bullying and hate, has to stop. I believe our country is to good for all the violence and craziness that is going on from both political parties. Most of us who have lived a long time certainly remember political ads that tore into each other or candidates that debated each other by slinging mud. However, it seems to be getting worse each election. We are seeing violence to a whole different level and acts that are outright disgraceful. The question then becomes, what can we do about it?

As I said earlier, we have a great country and some great people living in it. As we reflect back on loved ones this Veterans day, we can see all the great sacrifices so many have made for this country. So many brave soldiers both past and future. However, I am fearful for my grandchild's future, for the future of all our young students here at Vantage. I started to ask myself, how did we get to this point and what can we do about it?

One of the things I like to tell the student's that come and see me about so many different problems going on in their life is, "don't look at all the problems at once, break them down into smaller chunks and let's attack the smaller pieces first". I use the example of eating an elephant; how do you ever eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So how do we attack this problem with society and political discourse that seems so big to us? We attack it by starting small.

I have mentioned Ron Clark's book before, which is "The essential 55". These are basically 55 rules that Ron Clark believes would make every student successful if they followed them. I was looking them over and thought if all of us could just use Rule # 4, "Respect other students' comments, opinions, and ideas", then we would have a great start at attacking this problem we are seeing in our society today. We certainly don't have to agree with every thought and idea that someone else has but we should listen to the other person, engage in civil dialogue and then move on.

I'm not saying I have the answer to today's anger and rage in politics. However, if we can start practicing Rule # 4 at a basic level like our classroom, place of work, or at home, then I believe we would be off to a great start. Imagine having a healthy discussion, sharing ideas, debating certain issues, and then walking away with both sides feeling respected and heard. That is what made this country so great and maybe it is the first baby step to improving what we are seeing today.

I said I worry about the future for our children but at the same time, I see so much good from our youth and staff here at Vantage. This Saturday is Veteran's Day and I am proud of the service time that Mr. Darrell Miller, Mr. Larry Regedanz and Mrs Amy Grothouse have given for this country. If there are others here at Vantage, I am sorry I missed you. These are the one's I know for sure. I also am so very proud of the students here at Vantage who have enlisted and will be serving our country after graduation. I know Austin Weyrauch and Bryce Slattman have already signed up and have gone through their MEPS training. They will be leaving for basic this summer. I can't tell you how proud I am of both of you and thank you for your service. Finally, to all of you who served and will serve, thank you for your service and your dedication to keeping this country safe. Let's all work together on Rule # 4 and see if we can make a difference.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Book Fair Is Coming!

I don't know how familiar you may be with the movie "Elf", but one of the funny scenes in the movie is while Elf is working at Gimbels department store. The manager announces that they need to clean up the store because "Santa will be here tomorrow". Well Elf gets so excited and starts running around yelling "Santa is coming, Santa is coming". Well, that is  how I get when Mrs. Knodel announces that the "Book Fair is Coming!". I guess I just love to read and feel I can't have enough books (although my wife thinks I have way too many books already).

Well, in case you haven't heard, the book fair is coming to Vantage very soon. The book fair will start on November 30th and continue until December 7th. This is such a great deal for all our staff and students. You will receive 30% off and there is no tax. If there is a certain book you want, just let Mrs. Knodel know and she will order it for you. Books make great gifts for the Christmas season and they are great to cozy up with next to a warm fire during these long winter months. If there are any books you want to order, please let Mrs. Knodel know by Monday, November 19th.

While I am on the topic of the media center, I just want to add a few comments while I have your attention. I hope everyone takes advantage of our media center. I haven't been to a lot of libraries in the local schools in this area, but I truly believe this has to be one of the best around. I have spoken with substitute teachers that have been in our school and they agree. Mrs Knodel does such an awesome job constantly changing things up and making the media center attractive and interesting for our students.

Recently, I was speaking to Mrs Knodel and found out that she will be hosting several different clubs in the media center this year. If you are interested in finding out the types of clubs or the dates and times, please see Mrs. Knodel. Once again, we have an awesome resource right here at Vantage Career Center. As a counselor, what I like about the media center is that if a student doesn't want to sit in the cafeteria during lunch, and they are looking for a quiet place to get away or read, then the media center is open to them. I have seen students go into the media center at lunch and end up meeting friends that share the same interests. It could be in the type of books they read or maybe they enjoy playing chess or checkers. This is a safe place that just gives our students another option so that they can feel at home. Thanks Mrs. Knodel for all you do.

Friday, October 19, 2018

End of 1st Quarter

Today marked the end of the first quarter.  This is an important point for you to pause and reflect.  Remember, quarter grades are not included on your transcript - just semester grades. But this means that you have reached the half-way point in earning the grades that will be on your transcript. 

Some of the questions you should ask yourself include: Are you where you want to be?  If you are not, what do you need to do different to turn things around?  If you need ideas for how you can improve your grades, I strongly encourage you to meet individually with your teacher.  You should also take advantage of the help available from the academic assistants in the Resource room.  You are also welcome to stop by and talk to me and we can try to brainstorm some ideas to help.  If you are happy with your current progress, congratulations!  Make sure you think about what you have done that has been helpful to your success and continue to put forward those same actions.

Also, a reminder to you and your parents/guardians - report cards are not printed and sent home - you will be able to access your report cards on Progress Book next Wednesday.

We have also started to fill in our time slots for Parent-Teacher conferences. The conferences are Monday, November 19th (4:00 pm - 8:00 pm) and  Tuesday, November 20th (8:00 am - 6:00 pm). You can call Mrs. Yearling at extension 2126 to set up your appointment. Remember, we encourage the students to come with the parents/guardians.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wise Communication

I read an interesting article the other day regarding communication. The author, Curtis Chandler, spoke about students who can text but struggle to talk. They have hundreds of conversations throughout the week but mostly through texts and not face-to-face. Paul Barnwell, an education writer for the Atlantic, said...

"Is there a 21st century skill more important than being able to sustain confident, coherent conversation?...Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and one another through screens-but rarely do they have an opportunity to truly hone their interpersonal communication skills. When students apply for colleges and jobs, they won't conduct interviews through their smartphones. If the majority of their conversations are based on fragments pin-balled back and forth through a screen, how will they develop the ability to truly communicate in person?"

Albert Mehrabian, a UCLA professor, found that 58 percent of communication is through body language, 35 percent through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis, and a mere seven percent through content of the message (Mehrabian, 2008). The article stated that "a student whose social skill set is limited to the use of their phone has roughly seven percent of what they need to be an effective communicator."

So, the question arises, what do we do about it? I feel that at Vantage Career Center, our teachers, staff and administrators do an outstanding job of getting our students working on these skills. When I have the opportunity to visit the classrooms and labs, I am witness to several different approaches to improving the students communication skills. I have seen Socratic seminars led by students, small groups designing and building bridges and communicating their ideas with their group members. Visit any of our labs and you will see students working together on engines, design projects, health screenings and check-offs or participating together in physical training for the police academy. If you stop and listen, you will hear leaders communicating ideas, team members putting forth their ideas in a convincing way and others observing and communicating non-verbally. Just this week, we will have eight students being interviewed by a large local company in anticipation of the five job openings they currently have. These interviews are common around here and the administration makes sure they are prepared by sometimes practicing over and over with the students. In the spring, we set aside an entire day for employers to come in and practice "mock interviews" with all our seniors.

I am proud of our school as we prepare our students for their next step into the real world. I know there is always room for improvement but I also believe our staff is looking ahead and understanding  what it will take to make our students employable and great communicators, whether in the college classroom or in the work force.  There is a famous quote about communication, it states "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something..." I know we are turning out "wise" students who will always have something to say and will make this world a better place if we just listen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

National Technical Honor Society 2018-2019

On Tuesday evening, October 3rd, Vantage Career Center held our annual National Technical Honor Society banquet and induction ceremony. The National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) is a way to honor student achievement and leadership in career and technical education, promote educational excellence, award scholarships and enhance career opportunities for the NTHS membership.

To become an NTHS member, a student must first be carrying a 3.5 GPA or above, have 95% attendance for their Junior and Senior years, no discipline problems in both years and have passed all of their End of Course Exams. If the student meets the above mentioned criteria, then they must write an essay stating why they feel they belong in the NTHS, have three teacher recommendations, submit a resume and complete their application. Once all of this is turned in, a committee of teachers and staff meet to discuss each candidate and determine which students best represent the National Technical Honor Society.

As a member of the National Technical Honor Society, each member has met the seven character attributes, and at the induction ceremony, vowed to continue these attributes. They are: Skill, Honesty, Service, Responsibility, Leadership, Citizenship and Scholarship.

I am so proud of these students because they have made so many great choices in their lives. They not only have been successful here at Vantage and their home school, but I know they will be successful in their future college or work careers. If you happen to see these students in the hallway, in your classes, or in the community, please congratulate them on a great high school career and a great honor in being selected for the National Technical Honor Society. This is a very small percentage of our student body, but they truly are the best of the best.

These are the NTHS members for 2018-2019:

Samantha Backus (Kalida), Lexie Beckman (Paulding), Tyler Birr (Ottoville), Hailey Brenneman (Delphos Jefferson), Ethan Brown (Van Wert), Lindsey Core (Ft. Jennings), Levi Craig (Antwerp), Casey Etter (Continental), Braden Evans (Antwerp), Ethan Geise (Ottoville), Kaileigh Gentry (Van Wert), Kaitlin Hamp (Delphos Jefferson), Clay Herr (Paulding), Lindsey Hill (Van Wert), Connor Hoersten (Ft. Jennings), Madeline Jenkins (Lincolnview), Dylan Kemper (Ottoville), Ashley McCleese (Continental), Jacob McClure (Delphos Jefferson), Haley Pastor (Wayne Trace), Dakota Rosselit (Kalida), Delaney Ryan (Van Wert), Dante Sampson (Delphos Jefferson), Tegan Schroeder (Miller City), Bryce Slattman (Continental), Sarah Stetler (Parkway), Zach Stevens (Van Wert), Jared Sukup (Antwerp), Joshua Sukup (Antwerp), Elizabeth Temple (Paulding), Calob Thomas (Parkway), Trent Vonderwell (Delphos St. John), 
Austin Weyrauch (Ft. Jennings), Deberah Wilson (Crestview)

P.S. I would also like to congratulate Alaina Ellis on her Honorary Membership into the National Technical Honor Society. Alaina works so hard gathering information for NTHS and putting in all the hard work so that the banquet is such a great success. Thanks Alaina!