Category Archives: Student Organizations

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.

CareerTech Champions

Trevor Hughes – Meridian Technology Center, FFA, HOSA

FFA taught Morrison High School student a $60,000 lesson about hard work.

THEN: His father once told him, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re Hughesin the wrong room.” So,Trevor Hughes found a different room. The high school junior said he needed more challenging math and science classes than his small high school was able to offer him, so Hughes enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s biomedical sciences program. There, the Morrison High School standout was able to take anatomy, physiology, precalculus and biomedical sciences.

Already a member of FFA, Hughes enrolled in HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. At Meridian Tech, he said he learned about

  • Lab safety and procedures.
  • The body’s reactions to everything from diseases to open wounds.
  • The importance of homeostasis.

After a year at Meridian, Hughes took college and high school classes concurrently. Hughes said he knows the value of hard work, and he attributes that to his membership in FFA.

“I am forever in debt to the FFA,” he said. “I am thankful for every person who pushed me to better myself, and I hope to carry on the values of the organization for the rest of my life.”

In addition to classwork and involvement in CareerTech student organizations, Hughes played baseball, football and piano.

Still, he said, he found time to apply for numerous college scholarships, and one of those paid off in a big way. Hughes received the OG&E Positive Energy Scholarship. If he keeps his grades up, that scholarship will be worth $60,000 throughout his college career.

NOW: This fall, Hughes will major in engineering at Oklahoma State University. After graduation from OSU, he hopes to travel the world and inspect above-ground oil storage tanks.

“A life full of service rather than self-absorption is a life well lived.”

Trevor Hughes

 

CareerTech Champions

Dean Baker – Francis Tuttle Technology Center

It’s man over machine in this high-tech classroom.

Dean Baker didn’t want to teach the way he’d been taught. The manufacturing-Dean Bakermachining technology instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center said his instructor gave his students a blueprint and said, “Please write.” The students wrote code, and the instructor made corrections where they were needed.

That was 40 years ago, and today the self-proclaimed G-code guy is teaching his students to write similar G-codes that manipulate machines to perform tasks. But today’s students are working with a high-tech machine powered by the Siemens SINUMERIK 828D control, which is giving his students game-changing skills that employers seek.

The 828D has a conversational feature that teaches students what is happening behind the machines when they push a button. Conversational computer numerical control machines have come about as a result of a shortage of workers qualified to write code.

Baker serves on the SkillsUSA board of directors, and the forward-thinking instructor was recently highlighted in Technical Education Post, a journal for technical, technology and STEM education.

At Francis Tuttle, Dean stresses three things with his students:

  • Safety – the most important lesson he teaches.
  • Being mindful of others and their surroundings.
  • Problem-solving.

Dean said he borrowed his philosophy of teaching from Albert Einstein, who said, “Education is not the learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.”

Related content: Tech Ed Magazine

 

Oklahoma CareerTech: Developing a World-Class Workforce

Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 394 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 32 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses.

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