Category Archives: Student Organizations

CareerTech Champions

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

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Tanner Thomas

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

 

CareerTech Champions

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.

Mick and Nancy German and Family – FFA

Cushing family has quite a collection of FFA jackets.

GermanFamily

Mick and Nancy German with two of their daughters, Leslie and Taylor.

Mick German was a third generation dairyman, heavily involved in FFA in high school. In 1975, he served as president of his FFA chapter.

Mick’s wife, Nancy, said she had wanted to enroll in agriculture in high school, but her mother said no, ag was for boys. By the time Nancy was a senior, her mother had softened her stance and allowed Nancy to enroll in FFA as an elective.

Soon, Nancy was showing lambs. Her love of animals grew, and after high school she went to Oklahoma State University, double majoring in animal science and ag education, with a minor in horticulture. After college she received her veterinary technician license.

Later, Mick’s daughter Amy got her own blue jacket. She was involved in FFA in high school, showing sheep and doing public speaking. (Amy’s daughter Destiny has also added an FFA blue jacket to her wardrobe and is showing goats.)

Mick and Nancy’s daughter Leslie joined FFA in eighth grade, competing at the state and national levels in several events. Like her father, she was president of her FFA chapter, serving in 2005-2006. FFA helped her get numerous college scholarships. She received a bachelor’s degree in animal science and ag communications and a master’s degree in ag education. She works for OSU Extension in Okmulgee County as an ag educator.

Nancy said their youngest daughter, Taylor, had no choice but to tag along with her sister, and by the eighth grade she too became involved FFA, raising cattle and chickens. Leadership was in her blood, and she was elected president of her FFA chapter in 2011. Taylor competed at state and national contests like her sister and received a full-ride scholarship to East Central University. She earned a degree in family and consumer sciences.

“Needless to say, FFA played a huge role in our kids’ lives,” Nancy said. She said FFA

  • Taught her children the value of hard work and responsibility.
  • Gave them valuable experience in public speaking and interpersonal communication.
  • Helped them finance their college educations.

“We bleed a little blue each day,” Nancy German

GermanGrandchildren

Mick and Nancy German’s grandchildren

Celebrate Workforce Development Month

WorkForceDevelopment

Oklahoma is celebrating Workforce Development Month in September.

A key component to developing a high quality workforce is to make certain our students have the opportunity to strengthen their employability skills. CareerTech student organizations do just that throughout our programs. CTSOs are integrated into CareerTech programs. Student organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing.

Members work on various community projects, competitive events and leadership activities and meet other students who share similar interests. Many students enjoy membership in more than one group.

What It Takes – CareerTech State Director Welcomes Students


Students in Oklahoma CareerTech programs earn credits toward high school graduation as well as the opportunity to prepare for industry recognized certifications and credentials and licenses.

CareerTech Student Organization Officers Kicking Off a Great Year

Oklahoma CareerTech student organization officers met earlier this summer for training at CareerTech University.

While at the camp, they also talked about what CareerTech and CTSOs have done for them and can do for others. You can see more in this video:

CareerTech Champions

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.

Carter Rogers – Pioneer Technology Center and BPA

CarterRogers

Lou Brock, Ralston town clerk with Carter Rogers

Woodland high schooler wrote the code for career success.

THEN: He was only 9 years old when his grandfather bought him his first computer. Carter Rogers was curious how the machine worked, so the precocious youngster read online books and tutorials on how to write code. He wrote his first program while he was still in elementary school and discovered he liked coding.

In middle school, Carter toured Pioneer Technology Center, and when he was in high school he decided to enroll in Pioneer Tech’s business and information technology education program. At the tech center, he gained additional experience in coding, and he

  • Is working on his CCNA, an information technology certification from Cisco Systems.
  • Competed at the state and national level in Business Professionals of America.
  • Won first place in Java programming at the BPA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California — the first time a Pioneer Tech information technology student won the top honor.

BITE instructor Zac Ladner said Carter worked hard to prepare for the competition, and it paid off.

“Placing first at Nationals is a huge honor,” Ladner said.

NOW: This fall, Carter will be a senior at Woodland High School. He is the network administrator for the town of Ralston, Oklahoma.

“A year ago I never would have thought I’d be placing first at a national competition…your only limit is the one you give yourself.”

Carter Rogers

Industry Experts Gather at BMITE Industry Futuring Panels

More than 40 industry experts discussed business trends and skill sets needed to satisfy Oklahoma’s future employment needs at Oklahoma CareerTech’s Business, Marketing and IT Education Division’s first Industry Futuring Panels.

BMITE Industry Futuring Panels

Industry experts talk about business trends and needed skills at an Oklahoma CareerTech Business, Marketing and IT Education Division Industry Futuring Panel

BMITE hosted the think tank groups earlier this month at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Business Innovation Campus. Participants discussed business trends affecting employees’ needed skill sets, skills necessary for workplace success, emerging careers and career pathways and big-picture topics employees need to know

MBA Research, a national career and technology education consultant, organized and facilitated three futuring panels for the business management, finance and marketing cluster areas. Oklahoma is a consortium member of MBA Research and uses the industry-validated national standards developed through its nationwide industry connections. MBA Research will compile all of the panels’ input and its research into a comprehensive report that will help refocus the efforts to build relevant career pathways.

Hussain Ali, state BPA officer from Putnam City High School, and Austin Long and Xavier Hamilton, state DECA officers from Latta High School, spoke to the groups about the connection CareerTech has with students. The officers’ input generated interest in the student organizations and how the industry representatives could get involved and support BPA/DECA activities.

Meals for the three days were sponsored by Gooden Group, Chickasaw Nation and donations collected by the Latta DECA chapter. Refreshments were sponsored by the OKACTE/BMITE teacher organization. A special thanks to these sponsors!

CareerTech Champions

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.

Steven Rogers – DECA, High Plains Technology Center

Technology center instructor literally grew up in the CareerTech family.StevenRogers

THEN: As a small child, Steven Rogers says, he ran the hallways of High Plains Technology Center while his dad taught in a classroom there. Having grown up on that campus, it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to take classes there as soon as he was old enough.

Steven chose marketing and management classes at High Plains Tech and joined DECA, the CareerTech student organization for marketing students.

He said his two years in DECA taught him:

  • Public speaking, through competitions and events.
  • The importance of good customer service.
  • How to be more self-confident, something his marketing instructor emphasized.
  • Business management skills.

After graduation, Steven used those management skills to open three businesses in five years.

I think students coming out of CareerTech have a better understanding of the mechanics of a business,” he said.

NOW: Steven needed to make a career change for personal reasons and decided to join the High Plains family once again, this time as an instructor. He was denied that opportunity three times, but he did not give up. With his fourth application, Steven was hired.

“I have a passion for teaching, and I love the CareerTech family as my own,” he said.

Steven is now the industrial coordinator at High Plains Tech. Also a fireman and EMT, Steven teaches fire, industrial and wind rescue classes.

“CareerTech helps students develop strong work ethics.”  Steven Rogers

CareerTech Champions

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.

Anthony Rifenberry – Adult Basic Education

Graduation and certification are terms this BPA winner didn’t expect to hear.

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THEN: He had been an orphan all of his life. Anthony Rifenberry moved from a series of foster homes to the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch, now Lions Meadows of Hope. When he turned 18, he needed to find a job.

It was a vicious cycle. To get a job, he needed training, and to get training, he needed money. But the roadblocks didn’t stop there. Anthony wanted to enroll in Meridian Technology Center’s information technology program, but to qualify for the financial assistance he would need, he would have to have a high school diploma.

Anthony enrolled in the Meridian Tech’s adult basic education program, and in only three months, he earned his high school equivalency diploma. The ABE program gave Anthony:

  • The confidence to believe he could graduate high school.
  • Personal assistance with complex math and other subjects required to pass the HSE exam.
  • The knowledge and skills he needed to pass the HSE exam.

The smaller, more intimate classroom environment was one of the keys to Anthony’s academic success.

“I definitely learned more math at Meridian Tech than I did in high school,” he said.

NOW: Anthony is a member of Business Professionals of America, and his network design team won the state contest. The team will compete at BPA’s national conference in Anaheim, California, in May. After he graduates with his network and PC support specialist certification, Anthony would like to continue his education, possibly enrolling in network engineering or cybersecurity.

“I had convinced myself that graduating high school and getting into a technology center was not possible.”

Anthony Rifenberry

CareerTech Champions

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.

Lawson TLawson Thompsonhompson – Carney Public Schools

Ag educator says students gain “purpose, preparedness, and professionalism.”

THEN: A self-described sports fanatic growing up in a small town, in a sports-minded family. Lawson Thompson aspired to play college sports, like his mom, dad and brother had done. That was before he got involved in agricultural education. In his senior year at Deer Creek-Lamont High School, Lawson decided to give up sports to dedicate his energy toward his new passion, FFA. He served as a state officer that year and went on to Oklahoma State University for a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources. Lawson said devoting himself to agricultural education and FFA was one of the greatest choices of his life.

“It’s a lot more than cows, plows and sows,” he said. In FFA, Lawson developed skills he uses every day, including

  • Communication – the value of clearly communicating with people of all ages in various settings, as well as public speaking.
  • Leadership – how to be a better leader, mentor and role model.
  • Time management – active participation in numerous ag and non-ag activities helped him learn how to manage his time.

“I utilize skills I gained from agricultural education/FFA every day,” Lawson said. “I would not be an effective educator, mentor, husband or person if I didn’t understand values such as hard work, dedication, discipline, leadership and service.”

NOW: Agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Carney Public Schools. Lawson’s FFA chapter was chosen as one of the top 10 chapters in the country. His students also nominated him for KFOR-TV’s Thankful 4 Teachers award, and he was one of the top 10 nominees in the state. Sponsor Air Comfort Solutions recognized Lawson with a $5,000 check.

“I strongly believe that if an employer interviews a candidate who came through any one of CareerTech’s eight student organizations (FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, DECA, TSA, BPA, SkillsUSA or NTHS) and one who did not, that candidate who was a CTSO member will get the job 10 times out of 10.”

Lawson Thompson, agricultural education instructor
(former Oklahoma FFA state officer, former Oklahoma CareerTech ag education intern)

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