Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.
Tanner Thomas – Meridian Technology Center and TSA
Engineering student gets a head start on his college plans.
THEN: Engineering has been his passion since he joined the Technology Student Association as a sixth grader. By eighth grade, Tanner Thomas was already an officer, and he served at the state level for four years, including state president during his junior year at Stillwater High School.
When Tanner enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering program, he combined his love of engineering with his love of chemistry and physics. But when he learned he would have to give up music to make it all fit, he signed up for online classes so he could continue to play saxophone in his high school band. Tanner received first chair honors in soprano, alto and baritone saxophone in the All-State band in his sophomore and junior years.
Through TSA’s many leadership activities, Tanner learned
- How to work well with others.
- Presentation and public speaking skills.
- Valuable study skills.
Tanner said he used his presentation and public speaking skills to compete in essay and speech competitions. Last year, his essay for Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour contest earned him a trip to Washington D.C. He also applied those skills to political campaigns for school clubs and organizations such as TSA.
“Learning to clearly and effectively communicate my ideas helped me not only as a state officer,” he said, “but also in school projects and life situations such as interviews, meetings and speeches.”
NOW: He is currently a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and was honored with Distinction in Advanced Placement/Project Lead The Way. His dream is to attend Northwestern University next year, double-majoring in saxophone performance and engineering.
“If you want to be successful, you have to start now. Opportunities don’t present themselves; you have to look for them.” Tanner Thomas