Monday, October 16, 2017

Now Is The Time

As we head into the final week of the quarter, I want to remind you that there is still time to work on those first quarter grades. I have been running some grade reports and there are students who need to work really hard this week so that they can raise their percentage in their classes. I know Mr. Knott sent out an email to all of you today referring exactly to that point. There is a big difference from failing the first quarter with a 15% or failing the first quarter with a 50%. Please see Mr. Knott's email for a complete explanation.

I just want all of you to realize that now is the time to start working hard on improving your grades and your overall standing here at Vantage.  It is easy to say "well what can be done in five days?" or you may feel that it is to late to improve your grade. As Mr. Knott states, "EVERY POINT MATTERS". Our final grades are determined by averaging the four nine week grades and the final exams (if the class offers the final exam). Quarter grades are 20% and the exams are 10% each. If there aren't final exams, then each quarter is worth 25%. So 15% vs 50% grade DOES MATTER. Please, this week if you are struggling, work with your instructors to make sure all your work is turned in. Ask for any opportunities where you can do extra credit. Finally, study for any remaining tests or quizzes that you may have this week.

It is not to late. Grab every point that you can. Next week will start a brand new quarter. Take advantage of a fresh start. Don't fall behind, and make sure you do your homework every day. One of the biggest problems I see with failing grades is missing assignments. Look, all of you chose Vantage because it was a fresh start and you wanted to learn a trade. Now is the time to take hold of that opportunity before it slips away. The vast majority of our students are taking advantage of being here. They are learning a trade, earning great grades and will be well prepared for the future. Don't be part of the very small minority who are falling behind. Tell yourself that you are no longer going to fall into that trap. I hope you read the earlier post about hanging around good company and good friends. Maybe that is something you need to look at. Everyone here at Vantage is here to help you and make sure you succeed. Now is the time to take advantage of that. Now is the time to improve yourself and your grades.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Unleash Your Story

This week in our Media center, Mrs Knodel is celebrating "Teen Read Week". Throughout this entire week there will be various activities going on in the media center. During lunch on Wednesday, Mr. Larry Ray and Brayden Kill (Senior - Ind. Mech) will be playing their guitars. On Thursday, we will have a guest speaker who does welding art work. I have seen some of his works and they are absolutely astounding. Students who are found reading on their own this week will be rewarded. It should be an exciting time around the media center this week, so I hope you will find the time to stop by and visit.

There is also something I am very excited about going on with "Teen Read Week". The theme this year is "Unleash Your Story Through Art!" Mrs. Knodel has asked staff and students over the past month if they would like to enter drawings/paintings, poetry, metalworks, wood carvings, song lyrics, personal narratives, etc that would unleash their story. This is a way to express what you have lived through, where you are at today, what has shaped you in life and so much more. And this is done all through the wonderful expression of art. I have been overwhelmed with some of the beautiful expressions both the students and staff have depicted either through their writings, poetry, pictures or art work. It is well worth your time to go to the media center and browse some of these very personal  life stories. Some of the things you will encounter will be some art work through welding, glass blowing and wooden bowls made on a lathe. There are some touching stories that took a lot of courage to write but may help start a great conversation that may cause someone healing in their life. Finally, I can't say enough about the artwork. All I can say is that our students are really a talented group of students. Not only is some of the work very detailed and beautiful, but it goes so deep into the artists soul. It expresses so many emotions that sometimes a person can not express verbally.

I want to thank Mrs Knodel for all the wonderful activities she has going on this week. It is not just a break from routine for the students but it just might open up a conversation that will help some other student or even that student. This exercise allows a certain freedom for the students. Something they may want to say or have wanted to say but didn't know how. It allows a quiet student the chance to be heard. It allows a shy student the chance to speak out. Once again, I urge all the students and staff to head down to the media center and "listen" to these students unleash their story through art. Thanks again Mrs. Knodel.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Good Company

Just the other day I read an article that I found very interesting and something I have been saying for some time. The article was titled "In a Bad Mood? You Might Have Picked It Up." I always find it interesting when someone has to do a study to figure out what most of us know as common sense. The study found out that, like a cold, good and bad moods can be 'picked up' from those around you. The study came out of the University of Warwick (in Coventry England). The study stated that "Evidence suggest mood may spread from person to person via a process known as social contagion." The team also found out that mood isn't the only thing that spreads among friends - so do symptoms of depression like helplessness and loss of interest. While those are not strong enough to push other friends into depression, they still can bring us down. The researchers also found that having more friends who suffer from bad moods makes it more likely for you to be in a bad mood. The good point of this study is that they also found that the opposite applies, people who surround themselves with more positive people will be more positive.

Like I said earlier, this is pretty much common sense, or is it. I have seen a lot of students who really have a lot of potential but they are brought down simply because of the people they hang with. I don't know if it is peer pressure, trying to fit in with friends or simply what this study says, that hanging around people who are always down can bring you down also. If you hang around friends who don't care about their grades, then it could be possible that you might quit caring. If you hang around friends who are disrespectful to the school, then you might become that way. It's like catching a cold. You may not want to be that way, but the "virus" effects you.

Even if this sounds simplistic or silly to you, I hope that you will take notice of the kind of friends you hang around with in lab or sit with at lunch. What kind of attitudes do they carry? Are they good students who care about their future and graduating? I really think you will be amazed when you start hanging around people who are positive and laugh a lot. You will notice that it has a tendency to rub off on you. I have been fortunate to hang around people in my life that make me laugh, have positive outlooks on life, enjoy kicking back and overall are really good people. They know who they are and I thank them for that.

This last week or two I have been very fortunate to hang around some really positive people. I have been part of the National Technical Honor Society and also selecting a great group of Junior Rotarians. One thing I have noticed is that when I see them around school, they are usually involved in some pretty good company.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

National Technical Honor Society 2017-18

On Tuesday evening, October 3rd, Vantage Career Center will be holding 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 four 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 NTHS.

As a member of the National Technical Honor Society, each member has met the seven character attributes, and at the induction ceremony, vow 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 or in your classes, 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 (roughly 5%), but they truly are the best of the best.


Shown in the picture front row left to right:

Cierra Brown (Van Wert), Savannah Habern (Paulding), Megaen Price (Antwerp), Mackenzie Shepherd (Lincolnview), Jenna Dunlap (Jefferson), Jessica Schnipke (Ottoville), Hannah Schevey (Paulding), Amanda Roberts (Antwerp), Briana Martz (Van Wert), Andrea Snow (Continental), Darcy Sybert (Continental), Hayley Kuhlman (Van Wert), Kali Edgington (Jefferson), Kailey Denman (Lincolnview), Row 2: Nathan O'Neill (Lincolnview), Josh England (Lincolnview), Jordan Bonifas (Jefferson), Alex Meyers (Kalida), Dillon Elkins (Kalida), Clay Schnipke (Ottoville), Chloe Foltz (Paulding), Jacob Mueller (Ft. Jennings), Emily Freund (Ft. Jennings), Garrett Silance (Wayne Trace), Cooper Chung (Jefferson), Joey DeBoer (Wayne Trace), Louis Rammel (Lincolnview). The following students were on a field trip and were not in the picture: Devin Ricker (St. John), Alexis Rupert (Van Wert) and Aaron Sealts (Ft. Jennings).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Do You See It?

I know a pretty hot topic of discussion lately has been about all the hurricanes that we have seen recently. There was hurricane Harvey that hit Texas just a couple of weeks ago and then this weekend we have seen the devastation in Florida from hurricane Irma.  I know that several people around Vantage have places down in Florida and were lucky enough to escape with only minor damage. We have all seen the pictures of the flooding and the damage to buildings, boats and landscape. I think it makes all of us pause and realize how in an instant our lives can change all around us. We should be grateful for each and every day that we have and make the most out of every moment.

Most of Sunday and Monday night I was watching the events unfold down in Florida. I was pretty much glued to the weather channel. As many of you know from my blogs, I enjoy the warm weather and beaches that places like Florida and the Caribbean offer. I have been to Key West and down in the Lesser Antilles. It is sad to see so much damage to such beautiful areas. However, the one thing that I found really interesting as I watched the news channels interview residents in the days following the storm, was the different ways that people look at things. I would hear two people being interviewed who were from the same area but they had different ways of looking at the damage. I am not saying either way was right or wrong. I don't know how I would react in that situation. There was a young gentleman who lost everything he had except the clothes on his back, yet he seemed so calm and at peace as he spoke with tears in his eyes and stated that he will re-build and he will fight back. There was another person who seemed like they were just giving up and too tired to fight.

I don't know much about any of those two people, if anything at all. However, it reminded me of a quote from C.S. Lewis that states, "For what you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are." I know we all deal with certain problems and issues in our own lives. It may be something like an irritation at home or school, or a bigger concern like a health issue. I think we learn to deal with those issues before they ever approach us. I believe that  life experiences and circumstances have the opportunity to shape us into the person we are today and the person we will become. It all starts with how we handle each and every situation. As young students, you have the opportunity to begin shaping your life today. When situations arise that frustrate you and cause you to be upset, then take some time to cool off and then deal with the situation. Think through things before you act. Don't hit the send button until you have thought about what you are saying or who you might hurt. The steps that you take today to act calmly in any situation will prepare you far into the future to be a mature and responsible adult. Then when life throws a real "hurricane" at you, you will be ready to face the unknown future with peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Sincere Thanks

Well we have survived the first week and a half and it seems that everyone is finally settling in. The first week or week and a half is a little different than what the home schools have to deal with. At Vantage we may get quite a few students who at the last minute decided that they do want to attend here. This is fantastic but it does cause a lot of last minute scrambling. Schedules have to be created so that we are not overcrowding a teachers classroom. The students have to be measured for their uniforms which will arrive a few weeks from now. We also have to make sure that all important forms are turned in, such as emergency medical, internet agreement and the signature stating that the handbook has been read.  And finally, make sure that the student has their student ID ready and that they are set up for lunch.

I mention all of this not to show how busy we are in Student Services, but to say a special thank you to all the people involved and who have had to put up with the chaos. I want to thank the teachers who never complain about adding students but welcome them into their class and make them feel so comfortable. The lab instructors who may have to sit down with that student and go over the safety rules one on one, and try to get them caught up as soon as possible. Not once have I had a lab instructor turn down a student. All the office staff, both up front and in student services, who have to get the student into the system, get the student ID, gather all the forms and complete these tasks all in a few hours. The supervisors who measure the student and then try to "rush order" their uniform so that the new student can get it as soon as possible, once again, never complaining.

This is just a small list of people to be thanked. So many of you have greeted the new students with smiles and big welcomes when I walk them around the school. I want to say thank you. I can't tell you how much that means to them. They often tell me how nervous they are because they are late comers and they feel everyone else is already settled in. A warm welcome and a gentle smile goes a long way. We have an awesome staff here at Vantage with some great leadership. It is times like this past week that make me realize this. I for one am truly grateful and thankful. I hope the students, both new and second year, appreciate and will come to realize that they are in a awesome place. I hope the University of Miami doesn't mind me using their slogan, but I have always liked it and feel that it applies here at Vantage:


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Change Is Good

First of all I would like to say welcome to all the new students at Vantage, the class of 2019. What an exciting day this past Monday was. We welcomed the new Juniors to their very first day as Vantage students. There was such a positive vibe around the building that day and the students seemed really excited to be starting the new year in a new school. Of course there always are the moments of anxiousness and confusion trying to find a classroom or locker or the awkwardness of finding friends to sit with at lunchtime. However, it all turned out great and I heard some wonderful comments throughout the day.

The following day we welcomed back the Seniors as they got ready for their final year of high school. It was great striking up conversations and finding out what so many of them have been up to all summer. It seemed that a lot of our students worked over the summer, so they were actually looking for a break by going back to school and sleeping in a little later. It is a pleasure to have all of you back and I am truly looking forward to all the great things that will be done around Vantage this year.

I really give our students credit because they had to make the hard decision to leave their friends at their home school, and leave their comfort zone, to become Vantage students. There are so many reasons for students leaving their home school and choosing Vantage, but over and over, I hear that they wanted a change. They were looking to further their career goals, they heard that many past students are working all over the area and are being successful. Some students mention that they had a hard time back at their home school and wanted to come out here for a fresh start. All of these are great reasons for choosing Vantage, and wanting to make a positive change in ones life is an awesome goal.

The desire to change is what will help anyone grow in any area of their life. How many of us want improvement but we resist change. But you can't make improvements without making changes. Change is possible only if you want it badly enough. I read a quote recently from Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, "You are the way you are, because that's the way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you'd be in the process of changing right now." Change is tough. It takes commitment, time, work and desire. One more quote from that same article mentioned that the Baltimore Orioles old manager, Earl Weaver, was unhappy with a call the umpire made, so he charged out of the dugout and yelled at him, "Are you gonna get any better, or is this it?

If we want to change, we must ask ourselves that same question. "Are you going to keep working and trying to get better, or is this as good as it gets? I hope all of you take advantage of the opportunities that you will have this year. Regardless of your last ten or eleven years of school, make changes so that this year is the best ever. Work hard, turn your homework in on time, be here everyday, be polite and most of all, be positive. You will be rewarded. Remember, change is good.

P.S. A big welcome to our new Superintendent, Mr. Rick Turner. Also, Mrs. Paula VanTilburg, Career Tech Supervisor,  Mr. Zachary Miller, Criminal Justice Instructor, Mrs. Heather Brickner, Intervention Specialist & Academic Instructor, Ms. Deb Richardson, Instructional Aide and finally Mrs Becky Markward, Cafeteria. So glad all of you made a great change in your careers.