Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Farewell Class of 2018

My Wish

As the school year is winding down, I don't want to miss the opportunity to say goodbye to the graduating class of 2018. In just a few short days the seniors will be on their way and beginning an entire new chapter in their life. At the end of the year I like to include the words to one of my favorite songs, "MY WISH" by Rascal Flatts. The song was written and released in 2006 and I have always thought it had the perfect words to say to the students leaving Vantage. If you get a chance, go to YouTube and listen to it, you will enjoy. The song starts out by saying...

   "I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you wanna go, and if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you. And if one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window, if it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile. But more than anything, more than anything... My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to, Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, You never need to carry more than you can haul, and while you're out there getting where you're getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too, Yeah, this is my wish".

As the words say, I really do hope you enjoy life, take it one day at a time and don't get upset by some of the little things you will face. I hope you never give up when you run into trouble. Please don't give up on your dreams, use them as motivation. I also want you to know that wherever you end up or whatever you end up doing, I do care for you and I do want the same thing for you. My door is always open after you leave. Feel free to call or email me anytime. I welcome it.

   "I hope you never look back, but you never forget, All the ones who love you, in the place you live, I hope you always forgive, and you never regret, And you help somebody every chance you get. Oh you find God's grace in every mistake, and always give more than you take".

Some pretty simple rules that will help you as you head out into the "real world". Don't hold on to grudges or hold on to your anger just because someone may have made you upset. You will find that when you forgive, you will be released and set free from an invisible prison. You will be a better person because of it. Please continue to give back to the community in which you live. You will not believe how good it feels when you reach out and help someone. Many of you have volunteered while you were in school, keep it up every chance you get.

I know that some of you reading this may have been in my office because you were upset about a mistake you made or something you regretted doing. Remember that I have always told you that you learn from your mistakes. We all make them but it is the mature person who learns from it and grows as a person. Hold on to this bit of advice and don't forget it. I guarantee you will need it again some time in the future. We all make mistakes. Finally as the lyrics above started out with, I hope you never forget. Come back and visit us or send us a quick e-mail to let us know how you are doing.

So there it is, my wish for all of you seniors who are leaving us in a few short days. I thank you for trusting me with your friendship, your troubles and your last two years of high school. Good luck in all you do. As for all my other readers, this is my final blog of the school year. Thanks as always for reading the blog, the kind comments and the inspiration. Have a great summer!

Friday, May 4, 2018

One To Go

As I was standing at my "post" this morning saying good morning to all the students as they entered the school, Mr. Matt Miller mentioned to me that we only had one full week of school left this year. I was really surprised by this probably because I just hadn't thought about it. However, that is the truth. We only have next week and then the following week our Seniors will be having their award ceremony on Friday morning (May 18th @ 9:30). Matt and I discussed how the end of the year really crept up on us. We realize that every year seems to go really fast once the calendar hits April but why was this year feeling so different. I think the big thing has to be the weather. It seems like we had snow about a week or two ago and we were just waiting for Spring to get here. When the nicer weather arrives each year, we know that we have about a month of school left or close to it. Well this is really the first nice week of warm weather and we look at the calendar and see that we have just ten days of school remaining.

So with that said, the seniors will be getting really busy working on their portfolios, finishing up exams and finalizing all their graduation plans. I know some of you may be thinking that May 18th can't get here quick enough, but I hope that you will take some time and really think about the last 12 years of school, your accomplishments, all your friends and the many memories you made. Take time to reflect about where you are now compared to your freshman year. Reflect on where you are heading in the next stage of your life. I hope you have certain goals set as to where you want to be in four years or maybe ten. Setting goals is a great way for you to keep yourself focused. Goals are something that can drive you to be a better person and work harder.

I hope that all of you will finish strong and work hard on your final projects or final exams. Those can be the difference between pass and fail. Now is not the time to quit. You don't run a race just to come up a little short. Finish the race strong and bust through the finish line with your arms raised high and shouting "I DID IT". All of you should be proud of your accomplishments and the fact that you are graduating in two short weeks. I hope you will stop by my office one more time to chat, say hello or just talk about your future plans (and let me know of any scholarships you have received). The next two weeks will go fast, trust me. Find time to enjoy it and chat with your favorite teacher or staff member. Remember, time flies when you are having fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Self Reliant

On Wednesday night the R.K. Thompson finalist were treated to a great dinner honoring this area's most self-reliant high school seniors. This is the 48th year for the R.K.Thompson program which provides cash awards for the High School Seniors in Van Wert County who best exhibit the trait of self-reliance. This award is designed to seek out and honor the Senior's who "Do the best with what they have" whether he/she is a scholar, an athlete, a student leader or a youth who must seek employment to help their family meet expenses. Merriam-Webster describes self-reliant as "having confidence in and exercising one's own powers or judgement".

I have always felt that the R.K. Thompson award finalist were students who you can count on to do anything you ask of them and knowing that they will do it above and beyond what you have asked them to do. They may or may not have had struggles but they do rely on their own resources rather than others. It was said last night about one of the Vantage students, Nathan O'Neill, that if you see his hand out, it is because he is helping someone else.

Vantage Career Center was honored to have three of the ten finalist. They are Josh England (Lincolnview), Hayley Kuhlman (Van Wert) and Nathan O'Neill (Lincolnview). I am so proud of each of these three finalist and all that they have done in their two years at Vantage. I believe anyone reading this would be proud to have these students as their sons or daughter. They are outstanding in every way. They are excellent students, pleasant personalities, hard workers and more than willing to volunteer whenever asked.

Thank you Hayley, Josh and Nathan. I hope you realize what an awesome accomplishment this is and that the entire Vantage community is so proud of you. In a few short weeks, you will be moving on with the rest of your lives. We wish you the best and we want you to know that you will be missed. Thanks for everything!

Thursday, April 12, 2018


I am starting to hear the familiar sounds of "senioritis" around the school and cafeteria.  While I understand that it can be a challenge to continue motivating yourself to finish your high school career strong, it is important that you do finish strong!

With Seniors only having 5 Mondays of high school left, the appeal of letting everything slide to just enjoy the remaining time seems to be very strong. I even have Juniors who are claiming to have “senioritis” early and this is definitely not a good thing.

Third quarter grades were rough (to say the least). This is particularly a concern for seniors as it can jeopardize graduation (a real fear for many) and it can also jeopardize your college future. For example, remember, the colleges reserve the right to revoke your acceptance if the grades you are earning are not on pace with what they expected at the time of your application. They can also place you on academic probation and take back scholarship offers. Obviously, these would not be good scenarios, but it does happen every year.

So, while the weather is finally improving, and we all have that desire to get outside, the upcoming weeks may make it hard to focus on the day to day responsibilities of meeting your classroom expectations. Please keep pushing to work hard in your classes and finish the race strong!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Digital Footprint & College Admissions

Today we had a speaker, Jerry Ackerman, who spoke to our students about social media and the impact it can have on our personal and social life. As a school community there has been a significant amount of time and emphasis encouraging students to be smart about your digital footprint - the information that you are posting and sharing through various social media outlets. As a component of that, we have often mentioned that the internet and social media can impact your college admissions, scholarship offerings or even various job offerings. Below are a few articles that speak to this: 

Colleges are spying on applicants by quietly tracking them across the internet.

Number of Employees Passing On Applicants Due To Social Media Posts.

This is a perfect time to pause and critically look at your digital footprint and consider what it is saying about you and the impression you are giving to future college admissions officers, scholarship committee members, and potential employers. Please make smart choices about what you post online.
Thanks Jerry for a great message for our young students.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Flap Jack Friday

Well Friday marks the end of the 3rd quarter. As the old saying goes, time flies when you are having fun. I guess there is a lot of truth in that statement especially around here at Vantage. I have spoken with so many of our students lately and I like asking them if they are glad they chose Vantage. I have never gotten a negative response. They use various responses like "I feel treated like an adult here" or "I just really love my lab", but the one I hear most often is "it is fun here". I often ask them what they mean by that and they tell me that they just really enjoy being in lab for a half day. They also state because they are in lab for a half day, it makes going to academics so much easier. Of course the students love their lab but I also see so many academic classes having fun. I see students out in the hallways measuring objects or their stride lengths. I see them flying paper airplanes for science. We just completed our numeracy challenge a week or two ago and will be sending several students to the next level for that competition. I know in Science they will begin their "roller coaster" construction very soon (just look at all the cardboard in Mr. Joyce's classroom). If you haven't seen this before, you should really stop in Mr. Joyce's class while that is going on. Talk about fun! WOW! Combining academics and fun to make a great learning experience. What a novel idea. I think that says a lot about our lab instructors and our academic teachers. Thanks for engaging our students and challenging them to go above and beyond what they think they can do.

This Friday we will also be celebrating the end of the third quarter and saying thanks to all our students and staff. There will be a free breakfast starting at 7:30 am. Several of our staff members will be flipping pancakes and cooking sausage in the wee hours of the morning. I hope students will try to get here early and mingle with the staff and enjoy a nice breakfast. I want to thank Gail Gillett for organizing all of this and for the staff who have volunteered to help.

For those students who may have seen their grades drop a little during the third quarter, now is the time to get it in gear. There are only 42 days left for the seniors. If you are in danger of not passing a class, now is the time to put in the extra effort and work hard. This is not the time to have "senioritis". For all the students, these next 42 days will fly by. Make the most out of these days. Work hard, earn good grades and most of all have fun while you are learning. I hope to see everyone tomorrow morning at the pancake breakfast.

Monday, February 26, 2018

One Of A Kind

It is with a sad heart that all of us at Vantage Career Center have to say good-bye to Mrs. Mary Jo Wilhelm as she will be leaving us at the end of the school year to begin a well deserved retirement. I have worked at a lot of places throughout my career and I have met a lot of people. I have also been through a lot of retirements and people leaving for other jobs. One of the first statements that usually comes up is "they are going to be really hard to replace". I have learned over the years that most people can be replaced and the business does quite well even without them. When I left the engineering firm that I was at, I was serving as Vice-President/General Manager. I humbly admit that at the time I thought "I sure hope they will be okay without me". Well they made it quite fine and ended up going global. So much for getting a big head. However, when I say this about Mary Jo, I truly mean it and believe in my heart that she will be tough to replace. I realize someone will come along and they will do an awesome job and we will welcome them. Mary Jo however is a different type employee. Mary Jo truly gives 100% of herself to her job and has always loved what she was doing.

Just a sample of some of the things that Mary Jo has done for Vantage over the years. Mary Jo is the first contact for any outside people that visit Vantage. She is the person who sends out all the messages on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. She alerts all of us about school delays, cancellations, special meetings and any other important issues. Our levies have passed because the people believe in our school and have seen results, a lot of this is because of the hard work and effort Mary Jo has put into it. She keeps a large part of our web page updated. Mary Jo has to contact all the newspapers and inform them of activities and special events that are going on here at Vantage. She runs the open house every year, student orientations, ice cream socials, student ambassadors, a big part of the graduation ceremony and is involved in the FFA banquet and NTHS banquet. This is just a small part of her duties and she will be the first to tell you that she gets a lot of help (thanks Annette). It's not just that she does so much around here but the fact that she does it with such a big heart. Whenever she puts a picture of an event in the newspaper, she makes sure that whatever town the newspaper is in, that there are students from that home school in the picture. A little detail but it is important to Mary Jo. When we have dignitaries from Columbus visit the school she makes sure Vantage is looking in top notch shape and we are all at our best. It's important to her that her "family and home" look great to all who visit. I think the way Mary Jo looked at Vantage is about the same way my mom, and yours, looked at their family. Our parents were proud to pull out the wallet or purse and show pictures of how the children have grown and brag about them a little bit. Well Mary Jo liked to show how much Vantage has grown and brag on our school also.

I envy Mary Jo a little bit now. She is going into retirement at a time in her life when she knows it is the right thing to do. She will spend time with her beautiful grandchildren, children and even put up with John a little more. I will miss the many conversations that we have had over the years. The many "counseling sessions" when we both needed to let off some steam or discuss family issues.

Yes they will find someone to sit in your chair and perform your duties but you will never be replaced. You are truly one of a kind Mary Jo and I will miss you. Thanks for all you have done and for making Vantage a better place to work. Keep in touch and God Bless.