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Author: Chantal Chandler

STL Greenhouse Plant Society Shares Scholarships with Graduates

St. Louis Greenhouse Plant Society members presented South Tech graduates with generous scholarships and gifts today at South Tech High School.

Society members Mary Jo Anderson, Rita Zeitz, Mark Kalk, and Leon Zickwick presented the awards.  The Society has been in partnership with South Tech for 8 years, using the campus greenhouse to cultivate annuals and perennials for a sale held during the first weekend of May each year.  The Society uses the proceeds from their sale to establish a budget for the following the year’s crop and to donate to other non-profits.  Additionally, they present South Tech scholars with awards to show their appreciation of the partnership.

Zickwick spoke to the students and congratulated them during the presentation.  “This is a very special time of the year for us,” he said, emphasizing his gratitude to the school for sharing the greenhouse.

Recent graduates Emily Simmerman, Catherine Grzywa, and Cameron Harrison were our scholarship recipients along with South Tech Early Childhood Education alum Kristin Barnett.  Simmerman (Veterinary Assistant) and Barnett were awarded $500 scholarships, while Grzywa and Harrison (Culinary Arts) received elaborate knife sets and scales.

All recipients are pursuing post-secondary education related to their South Tech majors.  Simmerman will begin studies at SIUE in Biology/Pre-Veterinary Sciences, Grzywa will attend Southeast Missouri State to study Hospitality Management, Harrison will begin his Culinary Arts major at STLCC-Forest Park, and Barnett is finishing her coursework in Early Childhood Education at STLCC-Meremac.

Congratulations to our awards winners and thank you to St. Louis Greenhouse Plant Society for their generous gifts and continued partnership.

Competition in a Box Hosted by HBA

On Thursday, April 26, students from North and South Tech  Home Builders Association of Greater St. Louis (HBA) student chapter competed in “Competition in a Box,” a one-day event designed to introduce students to the home building industry. The event was held at Payne Family Homes and included opportunities to network with representatives from industry, a catered lunch, and generous gift bags for each participant.

The competition is designed in a “trivia” format and involves complex questions about blueprints and construction methods. The HBA’s goal for the student chapter is to connect members with students to provide job shadowing, internships, and opportunities after graduation. The hope is that this will create a pipeline of talent for the industry while providing high-paying jobs for graduates.

North Tech brought 3 teams of competitors:  Team 1:  Jessica Myers, Maurice Hall, and Keyshawn Outlaw; Team 2: Cedric Perry, Donovan Shivers, and Desmond Lee; Team 3:  Pereze Dodd, Vandeja Keller, and Kobe Dozier.  South Tech brought 2 teams:  Team 1:  Jordan Ware, Chris Rousan, and Joe Peck; Team 2:  Joe Lynch, Brycen Williams, and Logan Sheehan.  Four Rivers Career Center also brought a team.  Students who were interested in Construction Management were invited to compete, but all have a variety of pathways they plan to pursue after graduation.  Some are already enrolled in college courses in Construction Management, some are planning to begin college this fall, and others are interested in joining the Carpenter’s Union or going straight to work.  All are leaving high school with the skills and industry recognized credentials sought by the prospective employers who co-hosted the competition.

Atlas 46, DeWalt Tools, Home Depot and St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council sponsored prizes for the winners. Other sponsors included ABF Security (breakfast), Spire (lunch) and Associated Bank (beverages). Members of the HBA’s Professional Women in Building Council donated gift cards and items for participating students.

The competition’s first place winner was Four Rivers and South Tech’s two teams each placed second and third. Both North and South Tech students volunteered to participate in this challenging competition and impressed sponsors and industry representatives.

South Tech Triumphs at FBLA State Competitions

Seven members of the Missouri Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda Chapter from South Technical High School recently traveled to Springfield, MO for the Missouri Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference. This five-day conference, beginning Friday, April 6, featured dynamic workshops, innovative keynotes, and professional networking opportunities with Fortune 500 companies for middle school through college students.

New activities this year included LeadershipEDU, an in-depth focused workshop designed to help uncover a student’s true leadership potential, SpecializedEDU, a series of workshops on topics like Discovering Your Passion and Maximizing LinkedIn, and a brand new interactive conference mobile application.

Over 5,000 students and advisers came together for the event, with over 150 business education related contests running during the event; contest topics range from accounting to website design, marketing to mobile application development.

Overall, South Tech brought home many awards, including:

  • First Place in Network Design—Team of Adam Green, Andy Nguyen, and Chris Moore
  • First Place in Network Concepts—Chris Moore
  • Third Place in Network Concepts—Nathan Scott
  • Tenth Place in Network Concepts—Andy Nguyen
  • Eleventh Place in Network Concepts—Dakota Smith
  • Fifth Place in Computer Problem Solving—Nathan Scott
  • Seventh Place in Management Information Systems—Team of Steven Chalmers and Danny Fitzgerald

Of these winners: Network Design Team and 1st & 3rd place Network Concepts winners qualify to compete at Nationals in Baltimore, MD from June 28-July.

Missouri FBLA-PBL, a chartered member of National FBLA-PBL, is a registered 501©3. Their mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. Missouri FBLA-PBL membership exceeds 15,500, making it the second largest state chapter of the organization in the nation and the second largest CTSO in Missouri.

Auto Body Cruises STL Shops

Auto Body students were given a 4 shop tour of St. Louis last month which included a visit to the Classic Car Studio (CCS), the filming location of the program “Speed is the New Black” which airs on Velocity.  Owner of CCS, Noah Alexander, showed the students around the entire shop and allowed them to get up close views of some of the vehicle restorations that have been featured on the show.

Giving this kind of access and attention to our students reinforces one of the goals Alexander had for  “Speed”.   He was asked by the online publication Hagerty what he hoped audiences would take away from show when it premiered in 2017 and he replied, “This is an industry where it’s hard to find people who are good with their hands and who can create and build things—and finding these people gets harder every year. Part of the reason for this, I think, is that the education system doesn’t really provide a lot of opportunities for kids who might be inclined toward these kinds of skills. I know when I was in school I never knew that this was something I could be doing. I figured I would be in a cubicle somewhere selling life insurance, or maybe I’d be a doctor or a lawyer. I just knew that if I didn’t have some kind of corporate future, I’d be a nobody. I really want to inform another generation of kids that they can do this. Let’s show kids what’s possible. If they want to go to college, great. If not, that’s fine, too. They can go become a skilled craftsman or a tradesperson or an entrepreneur. They can do really well at those things in life.”

Students also toured two Schaefer Collision Centers and Central Auto Body and discovered South Tech grads at both locations.  At Schaefer, students were hosted by 2014 graduates Bradley Beckham and Kyle Neely.  Both have been employed by Schaefer for several years.  Additionally, Neely hosts his own Facebook site called “Blue Collar Kyle” in which he does demo videos and hosts discussions on auto body repair.

Central Auto Body is owned by South Tech graduate Chris Becker who gave our students lots of information about upcoming needs in industry and opportunities for our students.

Industry tours and visits like these help South Tech ensure that our students graduate with real world skills.  To learn more about openings in our transportation programs, visit our programs page at http://southtechnical.org/programs/. Additional information about the sites visited can be found at the following links:  CCS – http://www.classiccarstudio.com/speedshop/, Schaefer Auto Body – http://www.schaeferautobody.com/, Central Auto Body – https://www.carwise.com/auto-body-shops/central-auto-body-rebuilders-inc-maplewood-mo-63143/469791

Tops at Tech Awards Announced
South Tech honored students during our 2018 Tops at Tech Banquet on Thursday, April 26th at Andre’s West in Fenton, Missouri. Each instructor selected one student to represent their major based on their performance, dedication, and enthusiasm. Families joined their students and teachers for the evening event, hosted by principal Jacob Lohse.  Congratulations to our award winners!

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

  • Electronics & Robotics – Clayton Bach, Affton
  • Precision Machining – Brett Schoenberger, Oakville
  • Welding – Joel Besch, Lindbergh
  • Design & Entrepreneurship –Garrett Hamm, Homeschool

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & GRAPHICS

  • Graphic Design – Erik Lucy, Parkway Central
  • Cisco Networking Academy – Christopher Moore, Webster Groves
  • Web & Computer Programming – Ethan Schrunk, Homeschool

CONSTRUCTION

  • Carpentry – Daniel Lang, Affton
  • Electrical Trades – Logan Roderick, Oakville
  • HVAC – Zach Dillon, Oakville
  • General Construction – Kristopher Triggs, Mehlville
  • Construction Methods & Materials – Abdulhafidh Ibrahim, Parkway West

HUMAN SERVICES

  • Cosmetology – Madison Kuennen, Lindbergh
  • Cosmetology – Cortni Spann, Parkway Central
  • Culinary Arts – Cameron Harrison, Oakville
  • Culinary Arts – Hadley Shae McNeill, Ladue
  • Early Childhood Education – Destiny Quick, Hancock

MEDICAL & ANIMAL SERVICES

  • Dental Sciences – Zerina Cizmic, Affton
  • Health Sciences – Grace Killingsworth, Oakville
  • Health Sciences – Kristen Menning, Oakville
  • Pharmacy Sciences – Marwa Mahmoud, Rockwood Summit
  • Pre-Professional Health Sciences Academy –Anna Goodman, Parkway South
  • Veterinary Assistant –  Rebecca Wurl, Lindbergh
  • Veterinary Assistant – Trisha Nicole Wagstaff, Mehlville

PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Emergency Medical Technician – Nickolas Kaletka, Mehlville
  • Firefighting – Brandon Clifft, Bayless
  • Law Enforcement – Ethan Morris, Mehlville

TRANSPORTATION

  • Auto Body – John Jenkins, Eureka
  • Auto Technology – Leah Atkins, Maplewood-Richmond Heights
  • Auto Technology – Josh Dolenz, Bayless
  • Motorcycle & Small Engine Tech – William Cohen, Clayton
Machinists Gear Up for BotsSTL

Fast Cheese is still under construction, but will soon be ready to destroy! Precision Machining juniors Lili Rodriguez, Lauryn Giesler, and Matthew Haugsness are hard at work preparing their bot, named Fast Cheese, for competition in BotsSTL on April 21 at Ft. Zumwalt South High School.

BotSTL is a program to boost interest in and exposure to manufacturing careers sponsored by the National Tooling & Machining Association. This STEM-focused, project-based learning competition encourages confidence, teamwork, problem solving and creativity. Local manufacturing firms provide support and mentorship to student teams throughout the competition. Cultivating interest in manufacturing makes good sense for our region as St. Louis employs well over 100,000 people in the industry and opportunities and demand are expected to grow.

STROCO Manufacturing, Inc. is supporting South Tech’s team. STROCO manufactures and assembles metal products for the aerospace industry and high precision industries. South Tech’s instructors, Bob Arcipowski (Precision Machining) and Albie Mitchell (Design & Entrepreneurship), are also helping other student teams in the area prepare for the competition.

Our three-student team was drawn to compete due to South Tech’s 3rd place win in last year’s inaugural BotsSTL competition. As they construct and program their robot, they must meet weight limits while ensuring their robot will withstand the competition. Rather than designing to complete a task, Fast Cheese must instead be built to fight other robots and survive their attacks. Additionally, our students will be able to network with representatives from industry.

We are looking forward to the competition results and wish our team the best of luck!

Giving Back: Construction Students Help Injured Officer
Students from South Tech’s Construction Trades and Floor Layers Middle Apprenticeship programs recently spent a day giving back to our community by working on renovations at The Forder House in South County.  The home is owned by Officer Rob King, a 19 year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, who had been working on renovations of the home for the past two years. Officer King was injured on the job in January and has not been able to return to work nor resume his work on the home. Junior Alex Jacobi, a Construction student from Oakville, learned about the King family’s needs and asked instructor Dustin Meyer if there was a way he and his fellow students could help.  With the assistance of Paul Petrus, a day of service was coordinated in which our senior Construction Trades and Floor Layers Middle Apprenticeship classes worked on a variety of projects in the cabin renovation, including tile and drywall installation and some demolition. According to stlco.com, The Forder Log Cabin at 2225 Telegraph, dates back to at least 1852.  It is part of a complex which includes a main house, a cabin, and a stone storage building. The complex is named for Samuel W. Forder who purchased the land in 1852, although the cabin may have already been on the site at the time.   Working on the historic cabin in service of Officer King was a special experience for our students.  Meyer said the students appreciated getting to see the craftsmanship of the cabin saying, “The actual log cabin is still there but is mainly covered up, and there is an addition added on to the home as well. So from the outside, it looks like an ordinary house. There were a few walls inside that are gutted down to the original log cabin frame where we were able to see the structure. We all thought it was really cool and have never seen anything like it before.” Our students plan to return to the site before the year’s end to complete their tiling projects in the cabin’s bathrooms.   This project is one of many acts of community service South Tech students perform each year as they consistently use their talents and skills to help others.   SaveSave
50 Years of Serving St. Louis County Students

On September 5, 1967, South Tech welcomed its first class of 400 students to campus on West Watson Road in Sunset Hills.  The Special School District Board of Education stated a simple, but challenging goal for their newly established Technical Division:  “make available to the youth and adults of St. Louis County a program of vocational technical education second to none in America.” Fifty years later, South Tech continues to strive toward this goal and enjoys a long list of successful, happy graduates. To honor 50 years of service to the community and its students, Sunset Hills Mayor Patricia A. Fribis shared a proclamation declaring April 24, 2018 “South Technical High School Day”.  Principal Jake Lohse was awarded the proclamation at a recent Sunset Hills City Council meeting.

South and North Tech High Schools were developed using grants from the Vocational Act of 1963 which aimed to ensure that new and expanded vocational and technical education opportunities were available to students and remained in harmony with the needs of industry.  The act’s language about meeting the “needs of industry” required flexibility and a commitment to providing education that remained relevant. The resulting variety of program offerings over the decades reflects of our ever changing labor force.

South Tech students enter the building in 1968

In the 1967-1968 school year, South Tech offered the following courses:  Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Appliance Service, Auto Mechanics, Body & Fender Repair, Business & Office Education, Commercial Art, Electronic Data Processing, Fitter-Welder, Industrial Electronics, Offset-Lithography, Radio-TV Service, and Sheet Metal.  Juniors and seniors attended for the full day and took social studies, physical education and English classes along with their technical courses. Since the high school was comprehensive, students also participated in a variety of extracurricular activities including prom, sports, student council, and other clubs.  South Tech continued offering a full day program until 2008.

South Tech Machine Shop, 1968

Tech today continues developing dynamic courses for students to prepare them for in-demand career opportunities both regionally and nationally.  Programs like Pharmacy Sciences and Design & Entrepreneurship have been added in response to increased regional interest in these fields. Dramatically increased demand from the construction industry inspired a recent restructuring of our construction programs to allow more exploration during the junior year.  Students can become more familiar with fields like carpentry and electrical trades and learn about job opportunities with those programs’ industry partners before choosing an advanced core class their senior year. Echoes of 1968’s Electronic Data Processing are present in the complex and challenging curricula of our CISCO Networking Academy and Web & Computer Programming.  Industrial Electronics has evolved into an Electronics & Robotics Engineering course, preparing students for high-level university study. Demands in medical science inspired the development of courses in Health Sciences, Dental Sciences, and Veterinary Assistant. South Tech also began training students for public safety careers in Law Enforcement and Firefighting and Emergency Medical Technician, sending countless numbers of students to respective academies after graduation to join the forces of those who serve to protect.  And human service programs like Early Childhood Education, Culinary Arts, and Cosmetology have given students opportunities to earn certifications, licensure and college credit in creative and exciting careers.Unlike the programs offered in 1968, many of today’s skilled trade and technical fields require post-secondary education.  Choosing to attend a university or college, technical college, or community college is a common next step for most of our students.  Over the years, many of career fields have added certifications (IRC’s) to the credentials they require for employment. South Tech has incorporated these exams into our curriculum, giving students a jump start as many search for part-time employment and internships as they begin their post-secondary studies.  Programs that give students career opportunities immediately after high school graduation, including several apprenticeship programs, also remain among our offerings. Because Tech is focused on preparing and inspiring students, there are no limits on where they can go after completing one of our programs.

South Tech’s next 50 years look even more promising.  As the national conversation about K-12 education shifts focus to include a more concentrated effort on producing career-ready graduates, South Tech’s career and technical education electives will play an important role in preparing our region’s students for the career opportunities of the future.  South Tech’s commitment today remains as it was in its inaugural year. As stated by the school’s first principal, Homer Horton, “The South (County) Technical High School expands the realm of educational opportunities for the youth of St. Louis County and provided better prepared young employees for business and industry.”   

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