Category Archives: Student Organizations

CareerTech Champions

Corey Martin – FCCLA

Then: Not your typical high school freshman. Corey Martin was a gifted artist, and even as a high school freshman, he loved to sew. Martin said his family and consumer sciences teacher (then home ec) recruited him for her class. There, the Okeene High School student flourished. He used his artistic skills to decorate for school events, such as the school’s annual style show, and he sewed for competitive events. Martin graduated from Fort Cobb-Broxton High School, and said his involvement in FHA (now FCCLA) taught him

  • Basic life skills like setting up a budget and balancing a checkbook.
  • Meal preparation.
  • Sewing skills.

“Through FHA I developed as a leader and a communicator,” he said. “These skills have become very valuable in my adult life, both professionally and personally.”

Martin said the most valuable lesson he learned was to appreciate people. He learned the importance of creating a network of peers and friends, which is extremely important in the theater industry.

In college, Martin majored in musical theater and costume design. He designed theatrical productions and began working from home, creating costumes and evening wear for individual clients. From 2007-2010, he worked as an installer on cruise ships. On the ships he fit, altered and repaired costumes for the new performers.

Now: A member of IATSE 705 Motion Picture Costumers Union. Martin is listed as a women’s custom-made pattern maker, fitter and tailor and has worked in 11 states and 22 countries. Most recently, he was working on a new series for Amazon, not yet released. He hopes to continue to work in the film and TV industry. Martin has started writing and hopes to create a movie or series of his own.

“I often serve as a leader in whatever costume shop or production I am working on. If I had not developed my sewing skills and the leadership qualities I learned in FHA, I would not be where I am today.”
Corey Martin, costume designer

CareerTech Champions

Logan Drury – Meridian Technology Center and HOSA

This nursing student is paying for college one vial at a time.

THEN: A rodeo queen who grew up riding horses and competing in rodeos. Logan Drury loved her equestrian activities, but she always knew she wanted to be a nurse. The Mulhall-Orlando high school student knew a nursing career would require college, which would require money — which would require skills. Not a problem for this forward-thinking young woman! Drury enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s health careers program, hoping to learn skills that would allow her to supplement her income and find work in a field she enjoyed while she was going to college. At Meridian Tech, she

  • Learned time management and project prioritization.
  • Learned venipuncture and how to draw blood.
  • Learned patient care.
  • Was a member of HOSA – Future Health Professionals, the career and technology student organization associated with health careers education.

“I enjoyed the hands-on approach of my classes, and I loved the fact that my instructors were actually nurses themselves,” she said. “They didn’t just read or lecture about health careers; they drew from their own experiences.”

After completing the health careers program, Drury passed the National Healthcareer Association’s phlebotomy exam and became a certified phlebotomy technician.

NOW: Drury works as a phlebotomist at Stillwater Medical Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Because she is certified, she started at a higher pay rate when she was hired. She attends nursing school at Northern Oklahoma College. Her initial goal is to become a registered nurse, eventually obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing degree and possibly a doctor of nursing practice degree.

“Many times, students think you have to either go to college or go to work. With CareerTech, you can do both.”

Logan Drury
phlebotomist and nursing student

CareerTech, vet med association partner to teach veterinary assistants

A new Oklahoma CareerTech certification exam will help veterinary assistants show they have the skills they need to care for the state’s animal population.

CareerTech is working with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer veterinary assistant certification for individuals completing the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program. The program is designed to help veterinary practices spend less time training new employees while ensuring the employees have the skills they need.

“We are pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer this certification exam,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center has used its proven blueprint to develop an effective assessment with subject matter experts and will deploy the certification on the existing infrastructure, allowing for increased access to the testing across the state.”

Individuals working in the field can complete the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program at their own pace and then take the certification exam that the CareerTech Testing Center developed with a committee of subject matter experts. Once they’ve earned certification they can renew it every year with continuing education and a renewal fee.

The program’s goals are to increase levels of professionalism and customer service, encourage a culture of teamwork, increase the knowledge of animal care and increase the knowledge of proper handling techniques.

“The Oklahoma Certified Veterinary Assistant Program through the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association will ensure that students and workers are prepared to enter the veterinary world by providing a solid foundation of knowledge required to be successful in the clinic setting,” said Dr. Jennifer Schoonover, a veterinarian and OVMA president. “Veterinarians will be able to feel confident in hiring certified individuals and in continuing their staff’s education through this program due to the standard skill set covered.

“However, I think we can all agree the greatest benefit will be allowing veterinarians to better provide a consistent high quality of care to their patients and clientele.”

Individuals are required to apply for the program and then complete 100 hours of supervised training before taking the exam. CTTC’s network of testing sites at Oklahoma technology centers will give participants easier access for taking the exam.

For more information about the Certified Veterinary Assistants Program, visit https://okvma.org/veterinary-assistants-program/. For more information about the certification exam, visit https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/assessments-and-testing/health-certification-project-hcp/veterinary-assistant/veterinary-assistant.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

About Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association

The Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, a professional trade organization for veterinarians, was formed in 1907 and incorporated in 1934. The membership of the association is composed of more than 1,000 individual Oklahoma veterinarians, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences faculty, veterinary students, out-of-state veterinarians and allied members.

More than 1,600 attend virtual BPA, DECA conference

Oklahoma Business Professionals of America and Oklahoma DECA hosted a virtual Fall Leadership Conference for more than 1,600 students and advisers.

The conference centered around students finding their leadership voices and using them to amplify their strengths as leaders, role models and BPA and DECA members. In addition to sessions on learning their styles and working with other leaders, students also heard from Alton Carter, author of “The Boy Who Carried Bricks” and “Aging Out” and founder of the Alton Carter Inspire Foundation, which helps individuals in foster homes, group homes and boys ranches earn college degrees.

“This year has brought about so many changes, but one thing it has not changed is the hard work and dedication that Oklahoma CTSO state officers pour into their organizations,” said Paxton Cavin, state BPA and DECA adviser. “No matter what has been put in their path, on their list or abruptly changed, these officers have stepped up to the occasion. I could not be more proud of these two state officer teams and the work they have done and continue to do during this crazy year.”

CareerTech Champions

Samir Elneser – Metro Technology Centers and HOSA

This man’s wife didn’t need an X-ray to see her husband’s passion for health care.

THEN: A bachelor’s degree in business information systems guided him toward a career in marketing and retail, but when Samir Elneser was in his 40s, he was suddenly laid off and looking for a new job.

Elneser was born in the United States to immigrants from Colombia and Lebanon. The son of a doctor, he chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps. When the younger Elneser lost his job, however, his wife convinced him to reconsider the medical field. He took her advice, training as a nurse’s aide and going to work in a hospital. There he discovered he was more interested in the work being done by the radiologic technologists.

He found a full-time RT program at Metro Technology Centers. He joined HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education, winning gold medals at both state and international competitions. Elneser

  • Found his lifelong profession at Metro Tech.
  • Learned to take patient X-rays.
  • Received the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists radiography certification.

“Taking X-rays requires creating a high level of patient comfort through proper positioning and communication,” he said. “I also interact and engage with many different patients in a typical day, and I enjoy that diversity.”

NOW: A radiologic technologist at Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center-Norman, OU Medicine and Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Elneser finished the program with 15 classmates he considers close friends.

 He said Metro Tech was invested in his success. Even when the program was challenging, Elneser said, he knew he had the support of his teachers.

“My teachers held me and my classmates accountable while instilling the confidence we needed to be the best.”

Samir Elneser, radiologic technologist

CareerTech Champion

Joe Muchiri Wathika – Francis Tuttle Technology Center and BPA

Then: His classmates saw a shy young immigrant from Kenya with a heavy African accent that was difficult to understand. Joe Muchiri Wathika said he wanted to learn how to edit videos, so the Deer Creek High School student enrolled in Sherri Gleaves’ class at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Wathika learned the ins and outs of broadcast and video production, but he said those skills aren’t the ones that changed his life.

Wathika described himself as a self-conscious, introverted teenager before he enrolled. He tried to withdraw into a shell, but his instructor continually challenged him to do more. He rose to Gleaves’ challenges and served as a chapter, state and even national president in Business Professionals of America, the CareerTech leadership organization for students in business, marketing and information technology education.

“Mrs. Gleaves helped me cultivate character and a sense of responsibility that continues to transform my life,” Wathika said.

In addition to self-confidence and positive character development, he said he gained public speaking skills and study habits that enabled him to

  • Receive the Chesapeake Scholarship to study economics at Oklahoma City University.
  • Receive the Gilman and Boren scholarships to study Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Hold multiple leadership positions in student government and lead the ethics debate team.

“Choosing to be involved in CareerTech was the most important and impactful decision I made in high school,” he said. Now: Wathika is a financial services representative at Oklahoma’s Credit Union. He said he uses the skills he learned from Gleaves’ class every day. He is able to clearly communicate to members, and as a result of Gleaves’ mentorship, Wathika has built a character based on integrity, humility and honesty.

“I definitely owe it all to the marvelous woman, Mrs. Gleaves! She was a universe, more than a teacher!”
Joe Muchiri Wathika, Oklahoma’s Credit Union

CareerTech Champions

Raylynn Thompson – Indian Capital Technology Center and HOSA

Biomed program is just what this future doctor ordered.

Thompson

THEN: A voracious learner who said she ran out of classes to take by the time she was a sophomore in high school. Raylynn Thompson had completed pre-AP biology and the introductory Project Lead The Way courses at Muskogee High School. When she heard about Indian Capital Technology Center’s biomedical academy, she knew it was a perfect fit. She enrolled as a high school junior in order to take the advanced classes she needed to reach her medical career goals.

Raylynn worked long, hard hours to complete the biomed program. She even found time to serve as chapter president of HOSA, the CareerTech student organization for future
health professionals. Her efforts earned her the designation of Stern Award Recipient Valedictorian of her high school class, with a weighted GPA of 4.7. When she graduated from MHS, Raylynn had already earned 31 college credits.

She attributes much of her success to Indian Capital, which helped her

  • Gain acceptance into 65 universities.
  • Receive multiple full-ride scholarships.
  • Develop classroom skills that allow her to better understand college coursework.

The academy provided Raylynn with a knowledge base that allows her to better grasp concepts in her college biology and calculus courses.

“Since I was exposed to it early on,” she said, “I understand it better, easier and faster.”

NOW: Raylynn accepted a full-ride scholarship at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, where she enrolled as a sophomore biology major with a concentration on medicine. She said that although the curriculum is challenging, she finds herself assisting classmates who are further along in their education.

She plans to graduate from ASU in three years. She then plans to go to medical school to become a neonatologist, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of newborn infants.

“CareerTech students begin with the end in mind, so they don’t undervalue the work they’re doing.”

Raylynn Thompson

 

CareerTech Champions

Evelyn Morales – Metro Technology Centers and SkillsUSA

THEN: The daughter of immigrants, Evelyn Morales said she wanted to demonstrate the Moralestrue meaning of serving and protecting her community.

“I want to make a difference in the way justice is served,” she said.

The Northwest Classen High School junior enrolled in the law enforcement education program at Metro Technology Centers and joined SkillsUSA’s Crime Scene Investigation program. There, Morales learned how to find and lift fingerprints and solve crimes.

Morales said the Metro Tech program

  • Helped her develop better communication skills.
  • Allowed her to earn her unarmed security license and CPR certification.
  • Taught her leadership skills.

Those leadership skills have come in handy in her job at Chick-Fil-A, where she said she was recently promoted to team leader.

The multi-talented high school student was also chosen to sing the national anthem at the opening ceremony of SkillsUSA’s national conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

NOW: Morales plans to finish high school this year, but her goals to serve and protect are just getting started. After graduation she plans to go to college and work as a detention officer. From there, she would like to work for the Oklahoma City Police Department, be a patrol officer and work in the K-9 unit.

“Power should not mean corruption,” she said. “As a Latina woman, I want to use strength and humility as a law enforcer.”

“I have matured during the CareerTech experience and learned to look at life in a more passionate way.”

Evelyn Morales, law enforcement student

 

 

Pontotoc Tech Grads Become International HOSA Champions

Amanda London and Trinity Roe, 2020 practical nursing graduates from Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, placed first in their category in HOSA International Leadership Conference competition with a service project to promote community awareness of meningitis.

Their project began with a presentation and expanded to include maroon ribbons, a video and a Facebook page. They placed second in state competition before advance to the international competition.

You can read more on The Ada News website.

Oklahoma CareerTech Student Organizations Give Back

Oklahoma CareerTech student organizations may have ended their yea4_in_web_red_blkr online with virtual meetings, but they continued to give back with statewide philanthropic efforts.

Oklahoma HOSA members donated more than $31,900 to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and Oklahoma FCCLA members helped raise more than $7,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. FCCLA members and advisers also have been sewing hundreds of masks to help essential workers during the pandemic.

Oklahoma FFA members donated 565 animals as part of the FFA Hunger Challenge to benefit the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma was able to make 904,000 protein sticks from the donated animals. Some FFA chapters also donated cash through the Cents Makes Sense program by giving $1 from each fundraising item sold.

Oklahoma BPA members raised more than $7,200 for Special Olympics Oklahoma, and Oklahoma DECA members raised $700 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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