Wednesday, October 13, 2021

FAFSA Is For You

 Did you know that each year about $80 million goes to waste because people don't fill out the FAFSA. That's right, $80 million throughout the United States just sits there because student's didn't bother to fill out the FAFSA. So, what is the FAFSA? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the form you will fill out to get federal financial aid for college and post-secondary training. It may also help you qualify for financial aid from the state of Ohio and at the college of your choice. The form is free, but it could save you thousands of dollars. Please do not pay to fill out the FAFSA. There are many sites that are misleading and will ask you to submit a payment to fill it out. NEVER pay to fill out the FAFSA. The legitimate site for filling out the FAFSA form is: 

So how does the FAFSA work? By filling out the FAFSA, you will find out what you qualify for. You may qualify for grants, which you don't need to repay. If you qualify for loans, federal loans have lower interest rates and you don't start repaying them until you graduate. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need to have certain information available such as, your social security number, your parent's social security number, your drivers license (if you have one), federal tax returns and information on cash and savings. The form takes a little while to fill out but you can work on it for a little while, save it and then go back at a later time to complete it.

There are some common misconceptions about the FAFSA, so I would like to clear up a couple of them. Yes you can apply for FAFSA if you are going to school for a trade. Every year there are many Ohio students who complete the FAFSA and get funding for career training. Yes you should complete the FAFSA even if you haven't been accepted yet. There is a great website that just became available and it is an initiative of the Ohio Department of Education, it is called "FAFSA Is For You". Just click here to take you to the site. 

Remember, if you have any questions regarding the FAFSA, please stop by student services and we will be glad to help you.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

National Technical Honor Society 2021-2022

 On Tuesday evening, October 5th, Vantage Career Center held our annual National Technical Honor Society 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. This year we were able to hold the ceremony in our commons area and welcomed family, friends and associate school representatives. It was great having everyone together again to celebrate this great evening.

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 Mr. Knott mentioned that evening, the fact that these students held at least a 95% attendance rating during the Covid shutdown's, quarantines, and everything else that was thrown at them, is an outstanding feat in itself.

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. I always say, these students are the best of the best.

These are the following members of our National Technical Honor Society: 

Samuel Adams (Paulding), Kameryn Altenbach (Parkway), Dylan Barricklow (Crestview), Brayden Bolenbaugh (Ft. Jennings), Mackenzie Burgei (Fort Jennings), Wyatt Davis (Continental), Allison Dingus (Crestview), Lily Haver (Parkway), Emily Jackson (Parkway), Taylor Lucas (Paulding), Elizabeth Mahler (Delphos Jefferson), Jude Marshall (Continental), Garret Martin (Delphos Jefferson), Gabrielle Martz (Fort Jennings), Gwyneth Martz (Ottoville), Jonathan Meyer (Antwerp), Parker Mihm (Parkway), Nolan Miller (Ottoville), Faith Nestleroad (Antwerp), Cole Nienberg (Kalida), Megan O'Donnell (Antwerp), Lexi Ordway (Continental), Emilee Phillips (Van Wert), Samantha Rigsby (Antwerp), Sydnee Savage (Van Wert), Gavin Schimmoeller (Fort Jennings), David Speiser (Continental), Nicholas Steele (Fort Jennings), Carson Stoller (Antwerp), Alexis Teman (Delphos St. John), Molly Westrick (Kalida), Zoey Westrick (Kalida)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Fueled By The Fallen

 Just a couple of weeks ago, Vantage Career Center was honored to have the "911 Memorial Car Tour" drive through our parking lot, escorted by the Sheriffs department. If you are not familiar with the Memorial Car Tour, let me explain briefly. Kevyn Major Howard, who is best known for his role as "Rafterman" in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" wanted a way to honor the fallen heroes of 911. Kevyn stated that in this country we always say "never forget our heroes", so he wanted to make sure that we never do forget the heroes of 911. Kevyn started the tour about ten years ago to honor these heroes. There are five Chevy Camaros that represent:  Twin tower #1, Twin tower #2, the Pentagon, Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and one that represents all the first responders who died on that day.  There are nearly 3,000 names inscribed on the five cars that drive in this honor tour. A great short video to watch is here: video

So, how did this tour ever get to Vantage Career Center? Well that is a great question and one that I asked. The answer led me to Joseph Klir, a Senior in our Welding program. Joseph's father is pretty instrumental in the Fort Fest held each year in Ft. Jennings. This is an unusual town festival because it is totally about honoring our war veterans. There are several activities that go on at the festival including Vietnam-era Huey helicopters, the replica Vietnam Memorial Wall and a live War of 1812 re-enactment. About three years ago, Joseph's father heard about the "Fueled by the Fallen" tour and invited them to the Fort Fest. Kevyn Major Howard, who runs the organization got back in touch with Dr. Klir and said he would be there. Well that weekend Joseph, who was about 14 at the time, was in charge of driving Kevyn all around the festival grounds in a golf cart. Well if you know Joseph, he is also a pretty funny guy. Well after driving Kevyn around all weekend, they became really close and good friends. So that leads to this year and the tour stopping at Vantage.

Kevyn is making his last tour this year and will be stepping aside. He began in Washington at the Pentagon, went to New York and then Pennsylvania, making stops all along the way. Well on their way to Las Vegas, he wanted to make one more Fort Jennings to see Joseph and because he loved the town and what they do to honor veterans. Amy Ricker organizes a lot of the events for the Fort Fest and is familiar with the honor tour. When she heard they were coming to town, she called Joseph and told him that Kevyn was asking to see him. They wanted to drive by Vantage and stop and see Joseph. Well a slight problem arose. Joseph was going to be setting up at MakerFest in Lima around that time with other students from the school. So as the caravan drove through Vantage, they were greeted by all of our students, except Joseph and a few others. When Kevyn heard Joseph wasn't going to be there, he tracked him down. They found Joseph on the bus leaving town and stopped the bus. Kevyn and his wife went up to the window and Joseph pulled down the window and fist pumped Kevyn. However, Joseph and the bus had to leave and Kevyn had other duties. Well to make a long story short, later that day, Kevyn was at the Sheriffs office showing support to the officers. I believe Mr. Turner heard they were up there and that Joseph was back at school then, so he called Mr. Verhoff to take Joseph up to the sheriffs office along with Matt Calvelage (his dad was driving one of the honor cars and Matt was also on the bus with Joseph). They got there in time and Kevyn and Joseph had about a five minute conversation and caught up on the last three years. 

It was really a special moment for Vantage, Joseph, Matt and our entire school. So many times we think of these Hollywood stars as put-offish or self-centered, but Kevyn is a true hero. Not only for what he does for all the fallen heroes of 911 but that he takes time out of his life to remember a special friend he met three years ago. Kevyn takes the time to make others feel better about themselves and to bring comfort to the hurting. His main reason for doing this tour is to set a moral compass for people, to instill values and positive change for our youth today. Kevyn, if you read this, you have accomplished that and more. Thanks for all you do.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Fall Sport Athletes

 Today we allowed our Fall Sport athletes to wear their jerseys and come down to the commons for a group picture. It is always amazing to see how many student athletes we have each year. As you can see by the picture, the number keeps getting bigger and bigger. I believe the reason is that students from their home schools realize that they can attend Vantage and also play sports or be involved in band, cheerleading and other activities. Vantage will do everything and anything to accommodate these students so that they still feel a part of their home school. I myself try to attend some of the sporting events throughout the year and I know several other staff do also. It's a small way to support the students and show them that we are interested in what they do outside of school also. 

One thing that I have always enjoyed seeing is the camaraderie of all the students at lunch time and in the halls. The same players who will be competing against each other on the field Friday night will be sharing a meal and a lot of laughs at lunch. They may joke around or have some friendly bantering going around, but they are always respectful to each other. I think all of us could learn something from that lesson. It seems that these students realize that it is just a game and their careers will be over shortly, but a friendship may last forever. 

 In closing, I just want to say a special thanks to all the student athletes, band members, etc. that chose to come to Vantage. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and when you look at that picture above, you have to be impressed. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to play any type of sport or cheer or play in band. These are the types of students who are attending Vantage. Leaders, hard workers and students who are committed to a goal. What an impressive picture and what an impressive group of students we have in the Class of 2022 and 2023. Thank you, we truly appreciate all of you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Happy New Year

 I know the title of the blog sounds a little misleading because we are only in August, however, we are at the beginning of a brand new school year and that should make you happy. There are so many things to be excited about this school year. First of all we have just finished our orientation evenings and they were a great success. We are going to begin the school year with around 550 students.  This is by far the most students we have had to start a school year in a long time. I believe the community and the associate schools are really seeing the great things that Vantage has to offer, both for a terrific jump start to a career path or the college route. Both of the evenings went by so smoothly and quickly. I want to thank the supervisors and administration for making this evening run like clockwork. The several conversations I had with parents and future students was really encouraging. Everyone is ready to get the new school year off and running.

Several other things that I am excited about is that we are making masks optional, so it will be nice to see so many new faces (including the seniors faces from last year). Our lunch room will be organized like it was prior to Covid but we will only have four students to the round tables instead of eight. We will be doing all the cleaning and sanitizing like we did last year in hopes that this will keep us in school and safe. I have spoken to several instructors and academic teachers and they are ready to get the year started. I am excited to see what are new STEM class will be like and all the things Mr. Joyce has planned for that class. 

We will also have a few new faces around the building this year. Our new Senior English teacher is Mr. Casey McConahay and I hear he is thrilled to be here and ready to get rolling. Mrs. Brooke Webster will be teaching our English intervention classes and I am hearing great things about her. We also have a new In School Suspension coordinator, Mrs Cicely Gasvoda. Hopefully the only time you meet her is during lunch time as she walks around and meets all the new students. In our maintenance department, Kyle Hammons has moved up the head of maintenance and we also hired Zach Weber to take Kyle's spot. Finally our newest staff member is Tillie. Tillie was here on and off last year but will be here about two days per week. Tillie is a mini-Golden Doodle therapy dog. Mrs. Farr has raised Tillie and several other therapy dogs and is excited about bringing Tillie to school this year. When I spoke to Mrs. Farr the other day, they were going school shopping for Tillie and getting her a Vantage t-shirt. Tillie will be here to spread smiles and joys to our students, both in the classrooms and in the hallways. If you see her, please feel free to go up and introduce yourself. Tillie is more than willing to meet you and share some love with you. If you have any questions about therapy dogs, please feel free to stop Mrs. Farr and talk to her about it. 

Well next Wednesday we will welcome in the new Juniors and then on Thursday the Seniors come back. I hope everyone is rested up and ready to make this a great year and one in which all of you learn and accomplish so much. Thanks to all of you who chose Vantage and to your parents and guardians for trusting us with your child's education. We promise you a challenging and fun school year. Happy New Year!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Goodbye Class of 2021

 Well this will be my last blog of the year and as I usually do, I like to say goodbye to our graduating seniors. I don't really know how we summarize all that this class has been through. It started last year when they were sent home on March 13 to finish off their junior year at home. We came back with masks on and adjusted schedules and a whole new routine. The students were separated into four different lunches and only two people to a table. Each student got very good at wiping down their desk and computers after every class and using hand sanitizer throughout the day. This is a lot to deal with besides all the regular things a high school senior has to deal with. However, I will tell you that this class is so special to me and will be remembered for a long time. When we started back in August, I wouldn't have thought we would have made it through Christmas without having to shut down. I also thought we would have to deal with the students not wearing the masks or not wearing them properly. I can only say that this class acted so mature and so grown up through everything they had to deal with. Very rarely did we have to correct them about wearing their mask properly or having to tell them to sanitize their hands before lunch. They were so cooperative and abided by our rules that we are now finishing out the complete year without shutting down due to Covid. Truly from the bottom of my heart, I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you for what you had to go through and how you handled it. 100% class act!

Well as I also do every year, I like to include one of my favorite songs as a way to wish you all the best. This song goes way back, probably when most of you were about three years old. It was sung by Rascall Flatts. If you get a chance, listen to it on YouTube or Apple Music. It starts out:

 "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. You have proven this year that you can face troubles and survive. 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.

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. You are an awesome class and a tough, resilient class. I hope to run into you somewhere down the road and we can hug, shake hands or just chat. Thanks again for making this a great year. To everyone else, thanks as always for reading the blog, the kind comments and the inspiration. Have a great summer!

Monday, April 26, 2021

HOSA & BPA Congrats!

 As I mentioned in my last blog the other day, I want to congratulate the Business & Industry students also on their great accomplishments in their respective fields of competition. We had several students compete in the Business Professionals of America (BPA) competition and also in the Future Health Professionals (HOSA) competition. 

In the BPA contest, the following students finished in the top 10 in the state, and several who are National Qualifiers. I have indicated which ones qualified for Nationals:


  • Brookelynee Lee (National Qualifier)
  • Jayden Buffin (National Qualifier)
  • Riley Boroff (National Qualifier)
  • Vanessa Krueger (National Qualifier)
  • Chet Miller (National Qualifier)

Jude Marshall, Garrett Martin, Zane Stephenson, Tanner Stinnett, Marcus Cox, Joseph McClure, A.J. Verhoff, Noah Verhoff

In the HOSA competition, the following are the top 10 State qualifiers with the students listed who will be going on to National competition:

  • Natalie Bostelman
  • Jordan Buerkle
  • Rylyn Lengacher
  • Ryan VanVlerah
  • Olivia Miller
  • Claudia Sinn


  • Wyatt Davis
  • Carson Rupp


  •  Halie Davis (National Qualifier)
  • Tygre Troyer (National Qualifier)


Congratulations to all of those students who competed and also good luck to all of the ones going on to Nationals. All of you have worked so hard and represent Vantage so well. We know you will do great at Nationals. Thanks for being such shining stars and using every opportunity that Vantage has given you to excel and be your best. We are very proud of all of you!