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.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Fall Sports Picture Day

 Today we celebrated our fall sport athletes. This is a tradition we have done around Vantage for quite some time now. We ask all students who participate in any fall sport at their home school to wear their jerseys during the school day. Mrs. Owens also invites them all down to the commons area for a group picture. As you can see by today's picture, we have quite a large group of athletes that attend Vantage Career Center this year. We had 123 (I think I counted correctly) student athletes that showed up for the picture and we know there are others who may have missed. What a tremendous group of students and athletes. We are so proud of all of you here at Vantage and can't thank you enough for making the choice to come to Vantage.

I know that every staff member is so proud of all of you and we wish you the best throughout this fall season. I was a coach for baseball for ten years and I know the commitment it takes to play in any sport while in school. You are in school until 2:40 and then head right to practice at your school and usually don't get home until after 6:00 pm. There are many long hot days during the months preceding the season and many days during the season where temperatures are in the 90's. This says a lot about all of you as individuals and as students. Your dedication and commitment to what you do will go along way, not only on the field but also in life. Personally I want to thank all of you for attending Vantage and showing other students at your home school that if they play sports, are involved in band or cheer, that they can also chose Vantage for their Junior and Senior years. Good luck to all of you this weekend and the rest of your season. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Student Appreciation Day 2023

Tomorrow, September 9th is our Student Appreciation Day. This is such an exciting day around campus with so many activities going on in the afternoon. Vantage has always used this day to let our students know how much we appreciate them and the fact that they chose Vantage Career Center for their final two years of school. I truly hope that each student here has felt that they are really appreciated by all of our faculty and staff. As I have said before, we realize how hard this was for so many of you to leave familiar and comfortable situations at your home school and select Vantage for your final years of high school.

Tomorrow we will also be celebrating our fall sports spirit day. It will be amazing to see all the athletes, cheerleaders, band members, etc. that have decided to come to Vantage and still stay active at their home school. I know that is truly a commitment on your part. We appreciate it! To the students who spoke with me the first week of school who were scared and were thinking about going back but hung in there and now are enjoying everyday. We appreciate it! To all the students who show up on time and work hard everyday. We appreciate it! I hope you get the message I am conveying. We appreciate each and everyone of you for choosing Vantage. We promise to make your stay here rewarding. If you show up everyday and work hard, you will have an awesome experience. 

Like I said earlier, tomorrow will be a busy day. The events will take place shortly after lunch and it looks to be a beautiful day. I always enjoy the car & truck show and look forward to that. We will have refreshments, corn hole, climbing wall, photo booth, bungee run, cards, chess, checkers, Wii dance, wacky trikes, music and more. Please be kind and courteous during this time and enjoy every bit of the entertainment. This is an event that Mrs. Owens and the student ambassadors and other staff have worked very hard to put together. I hope you meet new friends, talk with staff and understand that we are grateful that you chose Vantage. Thanks so much and enjoy!

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.